Keep in mind I had to write this in 1000 words or less. Not so easy....
Side note: I did win a caption contest on Facebook recently and got a $10 Amazon gift card. It was a picture of an empty toilet paper roll and a full toilet paper roll right next to each other on the same holder and I said "This is how we roll." I apparently made the author who was running this contest giggle...a lot.
The Destiny Do-Over
“And you're Mary Tyler Moore. I don't care what they say about us anyway. I don't care…”
I reach out to whack my snooze button and notice that my clock radio isn’t where I normally put it. I somehow manage to whack someone in the face instead, as I hear a stream of expletives behind me. Except the voice doesn’t belong to Dan, my boyfriend of two years. And my room looks like it has thrown up a 1990s shrine, complete with Backstreet Boys and Friends posters.
“Okay, if this is some sort of surprise fortieth birthday prank, it’s not funny!”
“Aren’t you aging yourself a bit there, Jackie? You just turned twenty-one.”
The voice sounds familiar, and not necessarily one I want to hear first thing in the morning. Especially since it belongs to Bryan, my ex-boyfriend from college. Either I got really drunk on my last night of my 30s or I’m having a nightmare that I just can’t seem to snap out of. I squeeze my eyes shut and roll over, hoping that when I open them again, it will be March 11th, 2014.
I slowly open them. Chandler, Monica, and the gang are still looming over me from their spot on my ceiling. And now “Wonderful” by Adam Ant is playing on the clock radio that I still have yet to locate. “Did I tell you that I was wrong? I was wrong…”
As I look around my dorm room from junior year of college in 1995, I can feel my heart racing and I suddenly have trouble breathing. There’s no way this could be happening. No way. As I try to regain composure, I brush some stray hairs off my face, noticing that they’re much longer than the sleek brunette bob I recently got used to.
“Deep breaths, Jackie. You didn’t miss your Business 201 exam. You still have a few hours to study. That’s what’s wrong, right?”
“That’s far from what’s wrong at this moment. I’m supposed to be at work. And you’re not supposed to be here.”
“Slow down. What are you talking about? You signed me in last night when you were too drunk to get back up to your room alone.”
“I know this is going to sound absolutely insane but humor me for a moment. Today is my fortieth birthday and last night I was celebrating with my boyfriend, who I’m sorry to say is not you. When I went to bed, it was 2014, but now I’m somehow supposed to believe that it’s 1995. And that I’m twenty-one again. I don’t even have my iPhone here to prove that it’s true.”
“Is that like a phone you use with your eyes?”
“No. It’s half the size of what you would call a cell phone and you can do e-mail, surf the web, text, take and post pictures, Tweet…”
“Tweet? Text?” Bryan scratches his shoulder length blond hair, reminding me of how much I used to like running my fingers through it. I quickly snap out of my daze.
“Look, I don’t have time for this. I need to find a way back.”
“A way back to what? Is there a secret time portal in your closet?”
It suddenly hits me that I gave up on my plans for the future to follow Bryan to Los Angeles so that he could follow his dream of writing the next big Hollywood film. And when he achieved that dream, he tossed me aside like the crumpled up scripts that made their home on the floor of his dorm. Something inside me snaps this time. I’m not going to live that life again. If I want to live in L.A., it would be on my own terms and I’d have a successful career to show for it. Who knows if it will lead to meeting Dan this time around, but if we’re meant to be together, we’ll somehow find each other. All I know is that I’m breaking up with Bryan now, before I waste my life on him again.
“Bryan, I can’t go out with you anymore.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Absolutely….not. I have plans for my life and can’t waste them to focus on your big goal. Find another girl to follow you while you find yourself. I’m done.”
“Look, I have to run to class. Why don’t you sleep off your hangover and when I get back, we’ll talk about this.”
“There’s nothing more to talk about,” I say as he shuts the door behind him, a little too aggressively.
I curl up in my bed, content in my decision, and doze off while “Zombie” by The Cranberries plays softly on my radio.
“You're my end and my beginning, even when I lose, I'm winning…”
As I hit the snooze button, the smell of pancakes and coffee drifts into my room. It actually makes me feel slightly ill. I must have had more to drink than I thought. I reach for my iPhone to check the date and to my relief, it says March 11, 2014.
“Happy birthday, sweetie!”
I turn to the voice that doesn’t sound anything like Dan and discover, to my complete shock, that Bryan is still here. But he’s an older, even more attractive version. And he’s holding a tray with pancakes, hazelnut coffee, and a small bouquet of roses.
“How…how did you…how are we…”
“I’m guessing that when you had your weird time travel freak-out and decided to break up with me, I did some thinking. So here we are…you, the hotel magnate and me, the Oscar nominated screenwriter. Now get yourself ready for work and then prepare to be wined and dined tonight!”
Either 1995 or the other version of 2014 was a dream, but after looking at my slightly rounded belly and feeling another wave of nausea come over me, I realize there’s no more going back.