By a fluke of circumstances I was able to meet up for lunch at a trendy downtown brasserie with my past self and future self. We didn’t know what else to do. Neutral territory, I guess. Have a few drinks. Break the ice. The comfort of knowing there would be a well defined end. Split the bill, I assumed. I certainly wasn’t inviting them to my house. Act like they owned the place. Drink all my wine. Make fun of my shoes. Try to fuck my wife. Golf was out too. Past self played to a 10 handicap but I hadn’t swung a club in years. Future self didn’t like his chances, given current trends. We thought about meeting at my old childhood neighborhood. Walk around the black top streets like three weirdos, shooting the shit, cracking a few jokes, getting all caught up, remaining reasonably sane. Future self lagging slightly behind, unfamiliar with this terrain. But past self said that wouldn’t work either. The closer he gets to his beginning the more unstable he becomes. He starts shape shifting. One minute a 10 year old boy sniffing the leather of his old hand me down baseball glove, the next a lonely 19 year old calling dollar a minute singles want ads from his father’s office phone, turn your head for a shake and then he’d be a 4 year old boy lumbering around a yard with a giant yellow plastic bat bothering all the adults at the party to pitch to him then transforming into a 23 year old ex-frat boy with a copy of The Sun Also Rises in his back pocket at a bar, hoping by chance some cute razor witted girl would notice and want to strike up a little friendly conversation vis a vis what he really thought of Lady Brett Ashley then getting sucked into the mind of the 34 year old man fully resigned to a future he'd have to fake his way though. So distracting. Old me and me fell into an easy rapport, though. We had a lot in common. He was a little worried I’d be mad at him for a few things but it was funny, the things I was angry about he couldn't even remember and the things he was worried about I just started laughing. That girl? You didn’t even know how to spell love then. Besides, she had a lazy eye. She was from Missouri. And she was obsessed with Koi ponds. It would have never worked. And that time you turned your back on writing the Great American Novel? No worries. I ended up a surgeon. Which is pretty good, not spectacular, but not a bad consolation prize. And that manuscript you were working on really sucked, man. I mean, unreadable sucked. First thing you use for kindling on a desert island sucked. Out of paper, need to print this somewhat important document oh here's a stack of pages someone left we'll just print it all out on the opposite blank side sucked. Future me seemed a little standoffish. He didn’t speak much. Sort of a cipher. To be fair, he technically wasn’t really quite there. His time had yet to come. But we always knew where he was. Always aware of his impending presence. His future judgment. Of course, I'm future self to past self. Past self doesn’t even know there’s someone beyond me. I promised not to tell. Of course I got stuck with the bill. Past me pleaded inflation. Future me didn’t have a body let alone a wallet. At one point it was clear he had gone. We knew he couldn't be far. I left the tip and we went chasing after him again, spilling ourselves headlong out into the darkest of nights. This time we were guided by stars.
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