Have you ever wondered, knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again? …or would you run?! What if you could go back in time, what, if anything, would you change? What if you could press the UNDO button on your marriage?
After twenty years of an unhappy marriage, a disgruntled husband goes back in time to undo their relationship…and despite his best efforts and against his best judgement, finds himself falling in love all over again with his contentious spouse-to-be.
“I guess it’s her disposition that I find most irritable about her. I can’t find fault with her looks. But if beauty is skin deep, ‘grouchy’ goes all the way to the bone. We used to be close, be affectionate, now it seems we just drift farther apart. The only spark that remains in our marriage is the friction when we’re together.”
Fast forward to the past, before we met.
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“Oh no! It’s her! I can’t let her see me.” The rules are plain. I duck behind a corner and press myself against the wall as I scan frantically for a place to hide. It’s a dead-end and there’s no where to…wait! There! A large trash can along the wall, it’s only half-full…can I fit inside? Uh, it reeks…but I’m desperate! Coffee grounds, a banana peel, this is so disgusting but there’s no time for hesitation. I dive in, holding my breath, settling amongst the sundry items of refuse. Not a moment too late! I can hear the staccato of her heels clicking on the tile floor as she approaches, then…slowing her step as she nears. “Did she see me? Does she know I’m inside here?” I panic! “Uh! What’s that …in my hair? Gross! She just tossed her gum on top of my head!” I raise slowly out of the can still wearing that banana peel on my head and stealthily watch her as she walks away... “Whoa!” I mutter to myself. “She looks …incredible! No wonder I fell for her.” A big silly grin wraps itself around my face. “Wait! What’s wrong with me? How can I forget all the grief she’s caused me …I mean …going to cause me down the road?” Yes, we do have a few good times together, punctuated by long periods of her sullen, moody demeanor, trying to placate the implacable, those endless mind games, the psychological arm-twisting…”What was I thinking?”
Now…I know what you’re thinking! What’s the problem? I don’t usually go to this much trouble to avoid a good-looking brunette…but that sexy young thing sauntering away down the hall is going to be my ex-wife one day in the not-so-distant future. A moment later, I climb out of my awkward refuge-in-refuse, several pairs of gawking eyes staring me in disbelief. So maybe you think my reaction is a bit extreme?
Yes, she is gorgeous, long dark hair, a wry smile on her the corner of her mouth…so why am I running the other way? Because I know how it all turns out!
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“Oh no! There I am! I’m about to meet her for the first time…am I too late?” That’s me racing down the hallway, bumping into several suddenly inverted pedestrians in the mad dash to beat me to the point-of-no-return, the time and place when we…
Oh, sorry about that. Maybe I should explain. Freeze frame. Sorry, I had to hit the pause button so I can bring you up to speed about what’s going on. [ people lay chaotically sprawled out across the floor in random disorder; one or two still suspended up-side-down in mid-air ike a cartoon ] You see, twenty years ago to the day, we met for the first time…and fell in love. she was beautiful…I was desperate. I’m in my mid-twenties by this time and by now, I’ve worked myself up to a frenzied state of panic. I’m afraid that I’m going to be single for the rest of my life and the thought of being alone terrifies me. Turns out that I do meet a gorgeous girl and we get married in a couple of years…but that’s about the best our marriage will ever get…and it goes downhill, the longer we stay married. We both hang in there, I’m not sure if to see if we can make it work or just to torture each other as long as possible, which brings me to why I’m here today, back in past. If I just knew then what I know now…which is why I’m sprinting down the corridor. Don’t get me wrong; she’s a great girl, probably would have made some other guy a great wife. Everybody says she’s so much fun…all my friends love her. All her friends like me. But I’ve come to the conclusion we’re just wrong for each other, only I figured it out about twenty years too late. The chemistry’s all wrong now and we clash like a cheap suit.
That’s why I waited in line for that stupid device you might call a time machine. Some disgruntled attendant standing behind a formica counter scans my molecules into some energy canister. A push of the button sends me hurtling through some worm-hole until I make some quantum leap through a time portal …don’t ask me to explain how it all works, I just get confused…which is why I just pay the ticket and let someone else operate the transdirectional metaportation devices. Ha! I can see by the look on your face you don’t believe me! Precisely why I didn’t tell you sooner! Unfortunately for me, the Brotherhood of United Metaportation Operators has gone on strike, leaving me stranded in your backward technologically deficient moment of time. Maybe I should have just bought the “Time Travel For Dummies, guide?
“Time?!! Oh no! The time. I’ve got to hurry.” Time to hit the Resume button.
If I could just get there in time, I could warn myself… This is where it gets complicated, not the technology stuff. No, it’s all that emotional stuff between a man and a woman that still leaves modern man scratching his ‘ba-hooty’ wondering what happened. You see, time travel is pretty much common place now with no more than a raised eyebrow than faxing a document was in the early twenty-first century. but we still don’t understand women!
Want to know how a relationship works out? Most of us just try it on for a few years…if it gets messy, just go back in time and make the whole thing un-happen! Sounds great? But there are…rules about this sort of thing.
Rule Number 1: You can’t disturb the past, like, you can’t tell yourself that it’s really is you, back from the future. We have to be…ah…discrete! And there are a few…accidents that happen from time to time but most can be covered up, erasing the memory of the incident or if too many people witness it, then the “agency’ can always pass it off as a UFO or some paranormal disturbance. The pulp magazines at the check-out aisle love these stories. Those are the two most common excuses when there’s a ‘glitch’. And of course, you can’t slip yourself a hot stock tip to yourself in your previous life, the IRS enforces that one pretty close. Most people who do go back in time, go to straighten up some big mistake they made in the past that seems to screw up their future, and most of those are…related to that strange thing we call love. You can go back and UNDO your love-life, sort of like a “retroactive pre-nuptial extraction.” Some prefer the term, “pre-crises post-espousal intervention.” I tend to think of it more as a “pre-connubial utero-inversion” or un-birthing a marriage.
That’s why I’m here. You see, there was this gorgeous young girl I had met and we eventually fell in love…and then we ruined everything. We got married! That little thing they say about love being blind, it’s much worse. “Love’ isn’t blind because you can help the blind but there ‘aint’ much hope for ‘stoo-pid!” I mean we all can look back and see the things we were too willing to overlook when we were dating but somehow managed to switch off that rational part of or brain that said, “Are you sure this is what you want?” Instead we focus so much on how the other makes us feel! Then when it all falls apart, we ask ourselves, “What was I thinking?” But that’s just it; we weren’t thinking at all. We let our hormones and emotions run away with us until…the new wears off, then we take each other for granted. And all those little quirks that used to endear us to the other, now they drive us apart. We make concessions and we compromise, then we make a list of all our pet peeves. Pretty soon, our relationship gets put on life support and then eventually we put up a “Do Not Resuscitate” sign on the heart.
At first, it was illegal to go back to the past and meddle with our former love lives but it got to where there were so many doing it, it was sort of like trying to stop illegal immigration. As long as the technology was there and the money was right, you could undo any relationship. Turns out it’s cheaper than getting a divorce but without all the turmoil. So what does government do? When they can’t stop something they regulate it. They passed laws, they taxed it, but when they put it under some monstrous government beauracracy, that almost killed it right there. Yep, if you want to bury something, bury it under a myriad of convoluted regulations, obscure nomenclature, and mounds of senseless paperwork. It isn’t an offical beauracracy until they gave it some awful acronym. “FBI”, “IRS”, and “FEMA” was already taken so they had to call it FARTT, for Federal Agency of Regulated Time Travel.
If that wasn’t bad enough, things really went south right about the time when the lawyers smelled a buck! Yep, if there’s a way to exploit something, leave it up to the lawyers. There is a special breed, they call them ‘tort’ lawyers! I think they call them that because it’s descriptive of their tactics, like dis’tort’, con’tort’, ex’tort‘, and ‘tort’-ure! They started advertising their services like a snake oil salesman on a Sunday afternoon! “Have you been wronged at love? Let us help you!” Now, let me interpret for you…when a lawyer says they want to ‘help’ you, what they mean is, they want to ‘help themselves’…starting with a huge cut off the top. Seems like lawyers are always the first hogs in the feed trough!
“Well, I’ve got to go and try to talk myself out of making a really big mistake before it’s too late. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.”