A Time Machine

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 "What are you working on?" he asks me.


"A time machine," I say.


"A short story about a time machine?" he asks.


"Well, maybe. But actually, the short story is a time machine."


"Is it fiction?" he asks.


"Hard to say. There's no way to tell whether it's possible to reconstruct the past, or if we're doomed to merely represent it."


"You're not going to go into some long diatribe about mimetic theory are you?"


I look suspiciously at the person in front of me. This doesn't seem like something he would say.


"Are you sure you're me at 19?" I ask my younger self.


"Who knows," he says. "Well, I suppose we could go around in circles about whether I'm real or not. But truth be told, there's no way to be sure. Why not take it on faith?"


*


My younger self looks at me suspiciously. "I find this strange obsession with me fascinating. What is it about me that made you think of building...errrr...writing this time machine?"


"I'm not sure. But maybe you understand."


"I don't. I never dream of becoming 17 or 18," my 19-year-old self says.


"Of course not. Those were horrible times."


"Compared to then, I'm healthy and powerful."


"Compared to then, just about anybody is healthy and powerful. What do you dream of?"


"I dream that I can live like this forever. That I can live, read, study, write, snorkel, and fish until my heart is so full it feels like it's going to explode. "


"You shouldn't know too much about your own future."


"Maybe you've told me everything I need to know just by being here. If you're here, it means one of two things. Either you've somehow lost the track or the track has lost you. Either way, you've come to me to find it. In any case, it's always been simpler than you think. Live, love, write—and never regret. Certainly, don't write a story about your own regret."


And with that, I consult my inner Doc Brown and consider whether to destroy this "infernal machine."

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