I suppose the first inkling I had of the concept of time travel is the blame of H.G. Wells. In the early 1960s, as a wee child, I wandered out from my bed one night, clutching my stuffed donkey under one arm, to investigate the flashing lights and murmured sounds coming from our living room.
I discovered my older brother, Paul, fixated in a trance-like state on our television. He was watching what I later learned was a movie called The Time Machine. I was fortunate enough to be the favorite little sister—as well as being the only little sister—and was permitted to sit up late into the night to watch the entirety of the film.
Fast forward fifteen years or so, and I was an impressionable young adult picking up my first-ever romance paperback—A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. That seed, the concept of time-travel, had already been planted in my brain, just waiting to germinate. With Deveraux’s unforgettable tale, the idea took root and overtook my imagination like wildfire. Several years later, Diana Gabaldon’s original Outlander debuted. But that was an easy sell. I was already convinced. Already hooked. Already a believer.
When I so fortunately stumbled across Susan B. James’ Time and Forever a few years ago, I experienced a sort of wondrous déjà vu. Yes, I thought, this is a concept I am not alone in believing.
So, we’ve established that I believe in time travel. That it is possible to move laterally in the “fourth dimension.” But I also believe, as is a shared concept of all of these novels, that location is critical. Time moves, but place does not.
Such was the premise of my brief re-visit to Florida this past week. To rewrite history. To revisit a place in a different time, to change what had happened in that moment one short month ago from heartwrenching to wondrous.
For those of you who have read my recent former blog, Wallowing with Serpent C, you already know I have commenced a dangerous dance with cancer. I got that horrendous news during what is a cherished annual tradition—lunch with my daughter at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL.
Serpent C did his best to trash that tradition. He did not succeed.
After a clean PET scan, some encouraging news from my oncologist, and a very promising prognosis, my husband sent me back to Florida (from our home in Massachusetts) for a brief, 46-hour visit. A rerun. A do-over. To overwrite the events of that horrific day, and transform it back into a good memory.
And we did. My daughter and I returned to The Muse Restaurant and asked for the same server, who remembered us. The weather was just as lovely, the food even more decadent, the wine sweeter. And this time, unspoiled by a horrendous phone call, we took our time and strolled the gorgeous grounds of the Ringling after lunch—laughing, sharing memories, and enjoying each other’s company.
With my phone shut off.
For those who doubt the possibility, I’m telling you—you can turn back time. It is possible to rewrite history, to make right those things that went wrong in a certain place, but at another time. I have lived this proof. This past week, I did it with my daughter, who is also my best friend.
Time travel, I do believe, will become a reality in the not-so-distant future. But I decided not to wait. Life is too short for that.