Last night I watched ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’, a movie about a man who is able to travel around in time, his wife, and the consequences of his gift or curse – however you look at it.
There are moments in the film that were incredibly sentimental to me, such as when he goes back in time to see his mother, as she was killed in a car crash when he was small. Of course, she doesn’t know that it is her grown son who is sitting across from her on the subway as her son is only three in that year. But he tells her things that one might wish his mother to know – that her son loves her very much, that he has met a girl he is crazy about. He tries to stop the accident from happening but is never able to do that. Even time travelers can’t change history I suppose.
But it got me thinking about where I would want to travel to if I could.
The most obvious of course, would be to hear Jesus speak. I imagine his voice to be soft, but clearly audible. But what was he really like and how moving would it be to hear the words we know so well coming directly from him?
Then maybe to witness a sea battle reenactment in the Coliseum in Rome. I’ll pass on the gladiators, but the flooding of the lower portion of the Coliseum must have been pretty spectacular.
I’d like to have a drink with Ernest Hemingway, and be on the same sailing vessel as Victoria Holt.
However, the majority of the people and places that I would like to experience revolve around family, such as going to the future to see what my son will be like when is a dad – if he is. Or going back to a time when my parents were young. Having lost my father when I was only eleven, I’d like to have an adult conversation with him.
My grandmother spoke so lovingly about her childhood and wrote numerous poems about it. Wouldn’t it be grand to romp the fields of wildflowers with her!
The table I would most like to sit at would belong to my great-grandmother. I’ve heard my mother talk about the grandiose Southern meals prepared by her and laid out on the long table with benches to best seat all of her children and grandchildren.
But I also wouldn’t mind reliving a few of my own memories. The first time I saw New York, my first kiss, Christmas morning after Santa Claus had visited, my mother’s table when my uncle was in for his annual two week summer visit and a flood of relatives dropped by.
And there were moments in the movie when the older man visited his own younger self and offered comfort and advice. What would I tell myself if I could go back and wrap my arms around the younger me?
Oh my, that list is too long! And if I couldn’t change what happened, I suppose most of it would have to be in the way of comfort.
So I suppose I would say to her that she will learn to be strong and independent from things that happen, that she has much to look forward to, that she should always follow her own vision, to forgive herself early on for mistakes and not to dwell too long on the things that will go awry, to pay attention to the details, to stay with the French classes, make peace with her curly hair, and to hang on to everything she writes from her earliest novels to her journal entries.
Where would you go if you could and what would you tell your younger self?
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