Songs for the Struggling Artist

Non-Regulation Time Machine Dream
September 27, 2021, 1:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

TW: Death of a Loved One

A day or two after the news, my partner asked me what I needed. I said, “a time machine.”

I’m pretty sure he knew what I wanted to do with it. I’ve watched and read enough time travel fiction to know that this is usually the one thing you’re not allowed to do with a time machine if you get your hands on one. You’re not supposed to use time travel to prevent someone’s death. I know. But grief can make a person reckless and I might not worry too much about the butterfly effect if I could save my brother’s life.

I imagined showing up at the side of the road that night and delaying him long enough for that fatal motorcycle to speed by and then he could go on about his life, none the wiser. Or I could just walk him companionably further down the road to a safer intersection, maybe cross with him, after thoroughly vetting the streets.

For a few days it was just this simple. My little time machine rescue fantasy. A tiny little adjustment to save a life. But then today I thought, “Hey. In this scenario, I have a time machine! I don’t need to keep Will busy by the side of the road. I have a time machine; There’s no way my adventure-loving brother does not want to get in and start exploring.”

Like, there’s no way I turn up by the side of the road in a time machine and he doesn’t get in. I don’t know how I thought I could just turn up and slightly alter events. We’re going somewhere. We’re skipping this whole death scenario and we are off on an adventure. I don’t know where and I don’t know when but we are traveling, no question. I guess maybe I have to tell him why I turned up at the side of the road at some point but we have all of time and space so we’ll get to it. I suppose, depending on the time travel rules of this machine I have, I may have to bring him back and maybe I’d have to lose him all over again but before then, I’d get to hear all the stories he never told me, ask him a million questions and just have a good old adventure with a fellow wanderer. We never really got a lot of time together – with an eighteen year gap between us, and never having lived in the same place at the same time – but in my time machine, we’d have time enough to get sick of each other for a minute, like siblings are supposed to, and then make up. As it was, we were both sort of comets in one another’s lives, always burning brightly for a brief moment. So even if I somehow have to return him, I’m still picking him up. We’re going everywhere he wants to go. We’re seeing everyone he wants to see. No question.

But then I start to think – hey, if time machine technology exists – then maybe lots of people have them and since my brother was so beloved by so many people from all over, I could turn up by the side of the road that night and find it covered in time machines. There’d be Tardises and time turners, maps of time holes from supreme beings, hot tubs, phone booths, sports cars, complicated contraptions, rocket sleds, time jump devices, WABACS, maybe even an alethiometer for world jumping, and dozens we’ve never heard of before. It’d be a time machine festival. We don’t need to tell Will anything because suddenly it’s a party full of hundreds of people who love him who’ve all just turned up out of nowhere. We all have an amazing time and before we know it it’s morning and Will gets in somebody’s time machine (maybe mine!) and either goes on a grand adventure or just gets a ride home. Those of us with the time machines might have to spend the next few years repairing some tears in the space time continuum but it would be worth it. It would be worth it.

Normally on the blog, in this spot, I tell you about my patrons on Patreon. But today, I’d rather direct you to some things my brother cared about. He was very interested in radical mycology, which you can learn about here, here and here. This organization, Kiss the Ground, works on soil regeneration which was very important to him. Also, this is a small scale cause my brother donated to and could be easily fully funded.



5 Comments so far
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Lovely, Emily! Can’t help but like a time machine fantasy. I had a slightly different fantastical notion I’m still working on. Physicists say there are multiple maybe billions of parallel universes. Every moment maybe involves a choice. If I went to the left in one reality, I might go to the right in another. Theoretically, there could be millions of realities where that accident never happened. I’m trying to figure out how to step into one of them. A million things could have thrown off the timing that night. Had he paused to say one more thing as he left his friends house, had he stopped to check something on his phone…

Comment by gad3521

Emily, this is beautiful. I remember springtime, our freshman year, you holding a newspaper clipping and showing everyone the photo printed—your brother, a very little boy, on a school trip, perhaps to a nature sanctuary. In the photo he is smiling while a butterfly has landed on his nose. They both look so happy to see each other. I still think of that photo of Will and the butterfly.

Comment by Kate Evanishyn

Thank you so much, Kate. What a sweet memory! And I think that must have been my brother Alex, actually. (Though they did look very much alike as children.) Will was born in the spring of our Freshman year but I know he too would been very happy to unite with that butterfly. Even as a newborn!
Thank you so much for this. ❤

Comment by erainbowd

Oh I’m sorry Emily. I think of you often and wish you and your family peace and healing. With much love. K.

Comment by Kate Evanishyn

This is beautiful. Your family is filled with beautiful souls. Here’s to all our timelines merging once again

Comment by Jason Cooper

I'd love to hear from you. Gentleness and kindness encouraged and appreciated.

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