I recently heard a scientist describe time as 1 dimensional, as opposed to 3 dimensional space. Time moves in one direction – forward into the future, not backwards.
But don’t you ever want to travel backwards in time?
I hear women say, “My husband has changed. He’s always out. When he’s home, he’s drinking, and when he’s not drinking, he’s angry. I want to get back the man I married.”
That man from the past exists only in memory. In the future, that man won’t be who he is today.
I hear parents say, “My teenage daughter lies in bed all day, headphones in her ears, iPad on her lap. She’s belligerent every time we ask her to do something. I want the sweet girl she was 2 years ago.”
That girl is morphing into an adult. There’s no telling who she’ll be next year.
I hear people say, “My high school boyfriend was the love of my life. I want to find him and feel that happiness again.”
When I was 18, I met a boy my first week in college and was infatuated with him for years. Our relationship, if you could call it that, was mostly one-sided, my side. He saw me when it worked for him, sporadically. I spent most of my time waiting for his call. There were lots of boys who wanted to date me then, but I got stuck on him.
Why? I can speculate. I was 18 and innocent. He was standoffish. That felt safe. He was challenging. That felt electrifying. He was the boy who was always just slightly out of reach.
I married someone else right after college, but I dreamed of my lost true love. I had fantasies of seeing him again someday and orchestrating a revenge. I’d make him fall in love with me, then I’d walk away, just like he did all those years ago.
When I divorced, I contacted him by using information from a mutual friend I met at a college reunion. She warned me, “He doesn’t look like he used to. He’s gained a lot of weight. A lot.”
10 years gone, I arranged to meet him in New York City. When he turned to me, I saw an extremely large man with the warm smile and beautiful green eyes I remembered.
“You look exactly the same,” he said, wrapping me in a bear hug. “I know I don’t.”
Sometime later, he visited my home. I dug up old journals I’d written in 5 spiral notebooks, all about him. He flipped through the pages in surprise and read what I’d written. “This is amazing,” he said. “You were in love with me.”
I nodded. “I was obsessed. What a quirky kid I was.”
“What an idiot I was,” he said. “You were stunning. You still are. I wish I’d appreciated you. I wasn’t very nice.”
“We were kids,” I said. I meant it. I held no bad feelings for this man.
I told him, with a laugh, about my revenge fantasy. “It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?”
In my fantasy, I always thought I would travel back in time to the broken-hearted girl I’d been. But now, in the present, I felt no desire to hurt him. I had only fond memories of our shared college days.
His romantic life was limited though. He wasn’t happy. He began calling me a lot.
“You’ve put a spell on me,” he said. “Now I’m obsessed with you.”
My revenge fantasy came true — now that I didn’t desire it.
“It’s not me you want,” I said. “We have different lives now. You’re being nostalgic about your past.”
“It is you I want,” he said. “Is it hopeless?”
It was. I had no romantic feelings for him.
We became friends after that. He visited me a few times. He invited me to his wedding. We talked a few years after his divorce.
Occasionally, I have romantic dreams about the 18 year old boy he’d been. In my sleep, I’m still in love with that boy who no longer exists.
When I have the dreams, I sometimes call him and talk. That always brings me back to the present.
Time is not 2 dimensional. As far as we know.
Have you ever tried to travel backwards?