WARNING!!! BEFORE YOU READ THIS FANFICTION READ THE DOUJIN "STUMBLEINE" OR YOU WILL NOT GET THE STORY AND OR SPOIL IT FOR YOURSELF!!!! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE READ "STUMBLEINE"
Memories are indeed a hard burden to bear, aren't they? Every single one of them is like a little weight that the world puts on your shoulders, but their heaviness is determined by how nice the memory is. We go through life with these weights bearing down on us, their mass slowly growing heavier and heavier as time slips on by. Sometimes when I walk down the street I'll see an old man teetering along with his wrinkled face all grim as he hunches over himself, his shoulders slumped. He must have had a long and troubled life to have that much weight on him. Sometimes I'll see a kid, a teenage boy no older than fourteen who walks with a spring in his step and his shoulders held back and high as if the world is just dancing at his fingertips. So young and naïve he is. The memories of life haven't gotten to him yet. And then it makes me wonder. Years and years from now will that same happy-go-lucky boy somehow end up like the hunched over old man with the grim face? Everyone says life is short and it's true it is, but at the same time it seems of so much longer as the memories being to pile up.
I'm only twenty six years old, but already my shoulders are struggling not to cave in over the memories I carry on them. Well it's not so much memories as memory. Of course no one knows this because they'd think me crazy if I ever told them, but
I once altered time itself to stop my boyfriend from dying in a freak traffic accident.
It's crazy, it's impossible, it's far-fetched, and downright insane I know, I know, I know, but
it's true. It's one hundred percent truth and I would bet my life on it. How can I travel through time you ask? Well I'll tell you it's not from spinning counter clock wise as fast as you possibly can like in the cartoons. It's because I am a genius and geniuses create revolutionary machines don't they?
I had been working on my time machine since I was sixteen years old and at first it was merely a project to revolutionize the world, to prove to everyone that I was genius, and to prove to myself that I could actually pull it off. Well I did. But all of those reasons changed when Arthur was killed. After that my entire reason for finishing that machine was so that I could stop us from ever meeting and I could stop him from ever dying.
There was a time or two I failed to go back as far as I wanted to and I would end up at the same scene where the accident happened. I would blend in with the stoic, grim faces of the onlookers and watch my past-self wail and cry over the mauled and mangled body of the one I held so dear. I watched my past-self clutch onto his hand, feeling the warmth leave his finger tips and watching the light leave his once brilliant green eyes. I had been here hundreds of times before not in time, but in the unending nightmare that plagued me every night. Hundreds of times I would wake to tears staining my cheeks and pillow and have this unbearable ache eating away at my heart.
It would have been better if we had never met. If I stopped us from ever being together he wouldn't have been holding hands with me on that snowy winter day. He wouldn't have received that stupid watch from me as a first year anniversary gift. He wouldn't have taken off that watch, dropped it by mistake, and been hit in his hesitation. It was all a result of me that his life had ended at the young age of twenty two. I would've done anything to let him lead a long and happy life even if it meant cutting myself out of the picture. But
Despite my attempt to assuage my past-self into not getting involved with him I still failed. To my young nineteen year old self the lure of a foreign student from the UK- the one with the cute over grown eye brows, the disheveled gold blonde hair, and those shining emerald eyes- was too great. He would die again on our one year anniversary and I would put my-past self through the same misery and despair I had drowned myself in a hundred times over. I failed myself, but more importantly I had failed him.
Or so I had thought.
I had given up. I was convinced that no matter how much I tried there was no way I could alter the past enough so Arthur would remain alive. Unknowing of what I had done I met up with my past-self one last time in attempts to give it one last shot. The past-me refused to listen to me so in a brief last thought I handed him a little note with a formula. A formula that I remember nearly killing myself over when I was in high school. I was done. I had fought many battles and yet I had still lost the war. Arthur was going to die and there was nothing I could to do stop it.
Three months after I had accepted my failure I accepted a job teaching astrophysics at Columbia University in New York City. It was time I stopped dwelling in the past I couldn't change and move to the future that was still warm, malleable clay in my hands. As I walked through the halls with my new found friend, the French teacher Francis, I felt drawn. Drawn to an ajar door that lead to an empty lecture hall where I caught a glimpse at the back of a golden blonde man's form. My heart fluttered in my chest and I felt my breathing become irregular. I had to be seeing things. Of course I had to. Arthur's memory had haunted me many a time and this time could be no different. Right?
Francis had noticed the way I lingered by the door way and looked in the room curiously to see what had caught my eye so drastically. "What is it?" He asked curiously as he poked his head in the door and looked at the teacher erasing the black board at the pit of the lecture hall. "Ah, I suppose I should introduce you two." He said as he allowed himself into the room and began walking down the steps to the pit. My feet felt as heavy as cement, but they moved and in due time I shuffled after Francis down the stairs. "Alfred, I'd like to introduce you to our English literature teacher," My heart leapt into my throat, my stomach flipped like an Olympic gymnast, my palms grew clammy, and I felt weak in the knees. This couldn't be. This couldn't be. I struggled so hard and long to save him and I was so sure I had failed, but
The teacher turned to give me a side way glance, the curve of his lithe form so perfectly accented by the vest he wore. My heart stopped mid beat as a pair of brilliant green orbs met my own and my world came crumbling down around me as if everything I had just worked for and accepted was blown back up in my face. Everything I had come to know was a vain lie. "Mr. Arthur Kirkland." Francis proclaimed as he gestured to the man looking at me.
Arthur glanced over at me with that indifferent yet curious and wise gaze that had won me over in the first place. His hair was as disheveled as ever and his eyebrows just as thick. He held himself in the same proper fashion with his spine straight as a ruler and his shoulders back; his limbs still long, slender, and elegant. "Alfred F. Jones
" He looked at me quizzically. I was surprised I didn't pass out then and there at the beautiful sound of his accented voice, a sound I swore I would never hear again. "It's been awhile since I've seen you." He proclaimed as he gazed over me one more time.
"So you know each other?" Francis inquired, his own blue eyes flickering between the two of us.
Arthur looked me expectantly as if he was waiting for me to answer, but my throat was so tight and choked up from the mere sight of him I couldn't form any words. "We were friends in high school but then you finished your machine during senior year and after that we went to separate schools and you went straight off to work with NASA." He gave me another quizzical glance, wondering why I didn't remember any of this important information.
And just like that all my memories flood back so quickly it made my head spin momentarily. That was right. After receiving the formula- the one I had spent months working on- from me my past-self was able to complete the time machine in less time than what it had taken me. I had completed the time machine just as my senior year had ended and after that I went off to work with NASA while Arthur went his own way and to a different university. I hadn't seen Arthur in what felt like eternity and over. I had completely convinced myself he was dead, yet here he was standing in front of me. Because my past-self had finished the machine a lot earlier than expected he never went to college with Arthur and it was in college that I fell in love with Arthur in the first place.
I had unknowingly saved his life all by simply handing a piece of paper with a few scrawled numbers to my past-self. I had spent days, weeks, months convincing myself that I was incapable of saving Arthur. I had caused myself so much sorrow and so much grief about that factor and yet here he was alive. Alive and well and teaching at a prestigious university.
I could hardly believe it.
"Well if you'll excuse me
" Arthur began as he turned away. No
. He couldn't go. Not yet. This was the first time I had seen him in so long. I couldn't bear to part with him.
"No!" I exclaimed reaching out for him and grabbing him by the wrist, desperate to keep him here. He looked at me, brows furrowed and a signature scowl I hadn't seen in ages tugging down on the corners of his thin pink lips. "Sorry....I
would you like to get lunch sometime?" I said feeling a tad bit embarrassed by my outburst as I let go of his arm. I wasn't losing him. Not again. Not ever, ever again. I would grab him and hold and never let go.
He gazed over me, scrutinizing my face with that intense emerald stare. "Well
I suppose lunch would be fine, it'll give us time to catch up." He gave the slightest of smiles and I felt my heart swell.
There was so much to catch up on. So, so much.