Ten Years Knowledge
I find myself at my lunch table in high school. I’m not sure how this happened. ‘ok…go with it’ I think to myself. James is sitting on one side of me, Alex is across the table, and Vanessa is on the other side of me. They don’t seem to find anything odd about this situation, so I settle in. I figure this is a dream that I’ll wake up from soon enough. Vanessa is talking to me about something and I notice she’s asked me a question.
“Well, do you know what the homework was, Mae?”
“Oh, um…no, I wasn’t paying attention in that class, sorry.”
“God, girl you have to start focusing!”
She keeps babbling on about school work and a party that weekend. I try to zone her out as I figure out what’s going on.
I look up and Alex is looking at me, grinning. I touch my hair that I find is long and shiny – everything is just like high school. Weird. I try to look over at James without being suspicious. Yup, even he looks just like he did in high school, shy, quiet, absolutely adorable.
‘I remember this’ I think to myself. I reach into my pocket and feel a note from Alex there, just as I expect it. I know without looking that it’s a note asking me to go out with him. I’m not sure what I’m going to answer. Truth be told, I like James more, but in high school he never expressed any interest. And Alex is so sweet, and really cute.
Now, with the knowledge of ten-plus years, I know he does like me. Did like me, then – now – in high school. I know that this high-school version of James likes me, and this moment could change the course of my life.
Oh, this could just be a dream I’m going to wake up from, but on the off-chance that it’s not; I quietly, and (I hope) hidden from the rest of the table, reach over and set my hand lightly on James’ knee. His eyes get big and he looks up at me. I smile, withdraw my hand and hide my face behind my hair. Flirting in high school was so much easier. I glance up at him and he is grinning. This looks good.
The bell rings and we all get up from the table as the room is engulfed in the sound of chairs being pushed back and quick steps being made toward the door.
“Hey James, can I talk to you a minute?” I ask with the confidence of me at 27 in my 16 year old body. Some things are better with age. He looks down nervously and follows me to the edge of the room as it clears out. Alex walks out of the room next to Vanessa, both discussing the next class, which they share. I look at James when only a few stragglers are left in the lunch room.
“So, hey, I was thinking, do you wanna go out sometime?” I ask. Even knowing this might be a dream I’m a bit nervous around him, and truly don’t know how he will answer, but I know I have to ask. That I should have asked a long time ago.
“Yeah, that’d be great,” he looks down at his feet and shifts his weight “Want to go to the dance on Friday?”
I grin and hug him, “That would be wonderful!” just as I think the hug might be a bit too much for his high school nervousness he hugs me back.
I smile and dash out to my next class (which my feet seem to remember even though my head doesn’t) before I accidentally embarrass myself.
As the second bell rings I find myself waking up in my own bed in my apartment. I’m alone but I can hear the shower running. I glance around the room, thinking ‘this is all the same, of course it was a dream…’ when I notice a teacup on the nightstand. My husband never makes me tea in the morning. I smile and lift it too my lips and notice a pair of glasses. I don’t wear glasses. I stand up and pull on my bathrobe. Wandering into the living room I notice it’s painted a slightly different color than I recall. Curious-er and curious-er. Turning to the mantle I see pictures of me and what could only be an older James. I’m smiling like a fool now, looking at the pictures of beach vacations, a graduation, and a Christmas with my family, all including James.
“Good morning, honey. Like the new tea?” I jump a little and turn.
James, it’s really him, in nothing but a towel, ten years past high school but just as handsome as I remember him. A smile grows across my face as memories flood my mind. The pictures on the mantle now connecting with events in my mind, without pushing out the knowledge of my former life, just making that the background to this life, the life I should have led.
I set my teacup on the mantle and throw my arms around him and bury his lips in a kiss. He chuckles.
“So, you like the tea, then?”