Time Consuming

December 5, 2012
"It'd be so cool to time-travel!"

Yeah, right. Just like it'd be so cool to be a shapeshifter, or an Elf, or a galaxy-jumper, or maybe even a merperson. Trust me as a "fellow" time-traveler; it's not all sparkles.

When a time-traveler is born, they mark you down as dead, because you don't really exist. If you contact people in your travels, people forget you. They can only recall that they had talked with someone, or had been with someone. Names, descriptions, and anything of the past or future you mention is thrown out the window once you leave that time. If you talk about how the weather is at that moment, then they'll remember the conversation.

In other words, you're on your own forever, and you can't afford to make any relationship with anybody.

A complete waste of time.

I'm telling you this story because you, if you are a "fellow" time-traveler, need to know this as you make your way into the world.

Her name was Annalee. And she lived in Year 1995 of the 9th Turn. To pass away my existence, I took to solving mysteries. My mystery then involved 1995.

And brought me to her.

She had beautiful chestnut hair, sparkly hazel eyes, and was the only one to notice me on the street. She made it a point to come over and talk to me, helping me find my way around the city.

I thought that was the last I would see her. I was wrong. But part of it's my fault. I tried getting mysteries that involved 1995. And every time, I would reintroduce myself to her. Until at one point, she could actually remember me.

I guess it's because I kept coming back. She remembered me, and accepted my strange disappearances and the strange fact that I did not seem to exist.

Then I finally admitted who I was.

"Annalee, I'm a time-traveler," I blurted out.

She looked at me, completely calm. "That would explain a few things," she said lightly.

I stared at her. "You're not even a little freaked out by this?"

"No. I believe in strange things like you." She grinned at me mischievously. "And, yes, you're very strange, Liark."

I found myself laughing with her.

I thought then that it would last, that there was a possibility we could actually be together.

Two things: It's near impossible to figure out when a time-traveler will die, and a time-traveler, by nature, cannot stay in one time for more than a week. You spend your entire life time-traveling. So, have you lived for years, or only months? Are you thousands of years old, or are you actually just in your twenties? And as a time-traveler, you can't not time-travel. You're always restless, constantly going through time.

In short, that small ray of hope of being with her for the rest of our lives could be very easily distinguished.

And it was distinguished that on that dreadful day, in a moment of ecstasy, when I time jumped two years into the future from the time I met Annalee.

I watched Annalee die. She saw me, but she didn't recognize me. She was running away from a building, wearing a wedding dress and flocked by two other people. A man came out of it with a gun. He aimed at her . . . . And fired.

I went back to her, to the Annalee who would recognize me. I couldn't let her fate end up this way. I couldn't just let her die. I wanted her to live, to survive.

So, if she could remember me and our conversations, surely she'd remember about the day I'm going to tell her about!

I don't know which day was worse; her death day, or the day I told her about it.

"Annalee!" I called, trying to catch up to her as she took her usual early morning walk.

She stopped and turned, confused. "I've never seen you like this before, Liark," she remarked.

"Annalee," I panted, stopping next to her, trying to catch my breath. "Annalee, in only two years . . . . In only two years, you'll be shot."

Her eyes got wide. "What?" she gasped.

"You're going to die," I choked. "Please, promise me you won't get married in two years."

"Liark . . . " she said quietly.


There was a silence. Then, "All right, I won't get married in two years."

I sighed in relief, but what she said next stopped my heart.

"I'm sorry, but who are you?"

I looked up at her. She had an eyebrow raised in gentle confusion. Trying keep my composure, I straightened, smiled, and said, "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else." Then I walked away.

I read in a paper not too long after her death day that a young woman had tried escaping a wedding to an abusive man. There were a couple of people who had initiated a rescue, but the woman had been shot as she was fleeing. Her would-be rescuers escaped, but she died.

I can't make myself go and meet her in the times where she's alive. I had broken the time-traveling law, and I knew there was no possible way to go back to the way it was. It wouldn't be the same. Now, to her, I was just another stranger she had a conversation with about the weather.

So take my advice, time-traveler, and don't ever get close to anyone. You can't change the future. Time-travelers are disconnected from time and have no impact whatsoever on the past, present, or future. I have come to the realization through observation that the future can only be changed by those who live in time. And we who see everything can't tell them how to live their lives.

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