I don’t know how or why it happened but one night I went to bed a 24 year old with a career and a husband, in my own home with my own pets with my own locks and my own carpet and my own bathrooms and I woke up the next day to my mom turning on the hall light and opening my door so it would hit me directly in the face – “We’re going to be late for registration.”
I dangled my legs off the side of the bed and my toes touched that burgundy carpet that used to be mine. Soon, there are three little dogs around me and I feel at home. I am in the room I had when I was a teenager. I look in the mirror. I know I am myself but something is off. I’ve looked at my face for 24 years but this face looks fresher, younger. I know I am at least thirteen because my room is already blue and black striped – a promise my mom made to me when I became a teenager, I could paint my room any way I wanted – I know where I am but where am I really? Rather, when am I? I have the same morning routine now as I did then, so I followed it and nothing was out of the ordinary to my mother but everything was out of the ordinary to me.
We arrive at my high school. I take one look at the kids and I determine where I am. It’s 2006. I am fourteen and starting a brand new school. I’m not supposed to know anyone yet I know everyone. I see kids that I know are married and are parents. I see kids that have died, walking around in front of me. I see my husband’s girlfriend. I see the kids that I will fall in love with and the kids that will fall in love with me. I see the soldiers. I see the thinkers. I see them and say to myself we are going to be great friends. I see all of it and I remember. Why do I remember? Do any of them remember?
Suddenly I am hit with the weight that I might have to go through all of this again – the discovery, the heartbreak, the studying – and suddenly I am aware that I have to make careful decisions in order to get back to where I was at 24. And suddenly, then, I realized that I could change anything I wanted. I have another turn of those tender ten years that shape your whole life. What am I going to do with it? What kind of life will I have when I can remember the future?