TRIGGER WARNING: While not graphic there are mentions of abuse in this story. Please proceed to read with this in mind.
I find it interesting that when imagining time travel, most stories hold a very specific assumption: upon arriving in a new time the traveler will remember their choice to travel time, and maintain the full context of before and after.
Another narrative exists, where the traveler comes to with no awareness of their decision to skip time, a sort of amnesia.
I have experienced time travel on many occasions during my life, although upon discussing with doctors they use the term dissociation.
When I was 5 years old, something scary happened to me, lets just say #MeToo.
And there was another devastating layer: the adult who was party to this experience whispered in my ear “If you tell anyone I will kill your family”.
Faced with the dilemma of being a terrified child, needing the love and support of my family to heal, and knowing that by asking for that I would be putting them in harms way, I disappeared and jumped forward 2 years in earth time.
I came to in 2nd grade, sitting on one of those awful coarse carpets that elementary schools lay out for circle time.
In front of me was a 1 foot square piece of tan burlap. Thick blue yarn was pasted in the general shape of a human face: a childs idea of a face, with perfectly round eyes and half circle ears exactly in the middle of an oval head. Inside the face were multiple different colored legumes pasted on, to simulate the color of skin. I held in my hand a large white Lima Bean.
Towering miles over me, as adults look to children, was my 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Nyder. She was looking down at me, glowering, her face tensed and lips pursed: she was not happy.
Out of her mouth came the words (paraphrased) “Daryl, you have made such a mess, there is now paste all over the carpet and I will have to clean it up. Why do you always make such a mess. You are so sloppy: pay attention”.
What she didn’t know is I had no context of where (or when) I was, how I got there, and who she was. That I couldn’t have paid attention because I had not been there for the pasting.
She could not have known that moments before I was 5 years old, walking down a set of stairs in the sun, noticing the flowers, excited for a new experience.
She couldn’t have known i held no memory of the last two years, that I could not have told her who my first grade teacher was, what the classroom looked like , who my friends were.
And likewise I couldn’t have known that in moments I had lost 2 years. That the the only narrative of my 6th year would be constructed by pictures in yearbooks and stories from others.
This experience repeated itself over the years, although for shorter and shorter periods of time.
I seem to do well even though I am gone, got descent grades, held down jobs, and take care of my general physical needs.
I also seem to lose something important to me each time, when I’m lucky objects and when I’m not friends.
I woke up on that scratchy, grey carpet with a new skill, the ability to disappear completely, while my body existed in the physical plane (If you have ever had an alcohol induced blackout you may understand).
The mind likes a cohesive storyline, and so over the years I fill in those gaps with the little bits I can glean from the media state machine, and those still around me.
Recently I had a jump of roughly one month, and when I came to I discovered I had rented an Air B&B for a week: A small room inside a families dwelling.
I saw that the owners had left me a review, and curiously opened it.
“Daryl was a great guest, we never heard him come or go, it was like he was a ghost”.
And that is what time travel is for me:
Like a ghost,
Into a fog,
Where no one notices
The contrast of White on White“Round Here” Counting Crows