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Ready for the sequel in ‘The Start Over’ trilogy?!
(If you missed the first part, just scroll on down:)
Get ready for quite the trip…!
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It was like being in one of those supernovas, celestial vision of space, color, being…
Each star within it a moment I had experienced, looking at it from a whole bringing me realization that it was my inner space, my past, my present, and dare I say my future? But my awareness knew which area I had to focus on in order to achieve what I had set out to reach. That bright cluster which represented the time and space of that first glimpse at the age of fourteen.
And so I delved into it…
Like a wormhole, the speed of thought somehow fueling the travel. It’s not my intention to use space imagery to describe this journey, but I simply know no better examples to give to try and explain this miraculous event, this extraordinary happening that I’m not sure anyone else has ever experienced.
Then I began to return to my conscious state, the increase in oxygen and decrease in nitrous oxide drawing me out from the bright colored energy of the all-knowing and back into my physical state.
Now it was like water being transferred from one host to another, the water, my soul, going from one vehicle to another, none everlasting, all impermanent. Perhaps once in a cup, now absorbed by a sponge, to then be squeezed out over dirt, the effect creating the substance of mud. Yes, this was a feeling of sticking into a self that was new, yet not really. Lighter, smaller, more condensed, but indeed a home I had inhabited before.
Or was it just what I wanted to believe? Opening my eyes to see the bright overhead light go out, I tried focusing on the ceiling above, if it had changed along with what I perceived to be my change. If it was the same as a few minutes ago it would mean I had failed, my mom being right all those years ago, with me having fallen victim so deep to delusion.
But then I felt the arms of the chair I was laying back in. I distinctly remembered gripping the ends with my fingers, my arms being about the same length as the rests. Now my hands found no ends to grip, my arms being too short to reach the ends. A feeling I had not felt for so very long.
My heart began to race. I had to sit up to confirm it had really happened…
I was wearing my ol’ blue Nikes, the ones I had begged my mom not to throw out…
My acid wash jeans…
My shirt with the little alligator on the upper left side…
All articles of clothing from when I was fourteen years old!
The dentist, his assistant, the two I remembered from back in the day!
But I still had to see my own reflection to be totally convinced. The mirrors on the dentist’s tools were too small, the surrounding stainless steel not clear enough. I took off for the bathroom.
It was like looking at an old picture of myself, yet the reflection was present, the faces I made with that youthful face simultaneously staring right back at me…
I was really back!
I ran all the way back home, enjoying the burn in my lungs and sides as my underdeveloped body fought to replenish the oxygen it was being depleted of, running through the streets of my ol’ stomping grounds as if I were in a dream.
But I knew it wasn’t, because unlike a dream, during which at some point you realize just that, with the thought then giving you no choice but to return to reality, I did not wake, as this was reality!
Into the two-bedroom apartment I had grown up in, everything in place like it had been decades before. There mom was, cooking dinner on the stove like she had done countless times before. A few inches taller than me, than this teen body I was back in, she looked so young, so healthy compared to the last time I saw her, when she was on her deathbed being taken away by cancer.
I wrapped my arms around her and held her tight.
“What in the world?! What has gotten into you, son?”
“I just love you, mom.”
“I love you too. You’re right in time for dinner, wash up.”
I did as told, then sat down for a homemade meal. Heaven compared to the microwave meals my adult-self had grown accustomed to.
“Now remember,” my mom said, “no dessert until you finish those green-”
She turned around to see my plate clean, the last of the green beans being shoveled into my mouth.
“Can I have some more, Ma?”
Not recognizing the healthy appetite of her own son, she said the only thing she could while preparing my second helping of everything.
“That nitrous oxide must have done wonders!”
You have no idea!
I was reluctant to fall asleep that night, afraid I would wake up as an adult again, but this growing body had had a full day and was exhausted, and so I had no choice but to surrender to sleep, hoping to wake in my room of Michael Jackson and Debbie Gibson posters.
The following morning I couldn’t wait to get to school, being taken from déjà vu to surrealism the moment I stepped onto the school bus. From the kids to the route, the driver to the late 80’s world outside my window.
From homeroom to every period that followed my mental map of the past took me to every class, the lessons being taught more like refresher courses, with teachers and peers alike not knowing what to make of my new active participation.
I would take everything seriously now and get a head start in what I wanted to accomplish in life, now knowing full-well this second time around that doing so would ensure a successful future.
When lunch time came around I was back sitting among my ol’ clique of friends, popping tater tots into my mouth while they discussed the latest Nintendo games and CD players. We had always been an average group, somewhere between nerds and the cool kids, admiring the latter every now and then and not really paying attention to the former. It was a social class that just about every school had, my matured mind now laughing at such a ludicrous way of life.
But then again, this was all so innocent compared to the future. Not a cellphone in sight, I wanted to warn them all now of what was to come.
Then I saw her. Claudia. One of the cool kids, who also happened to be my present self’s crush. Her boyfriend was the coolest kid in school. Mario, always walking around like Don Johnson in Miami Vice, changing in the blazer for a pair of suspenders that always hung below the waist, never over the shoulders to serve their original purpose.
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud this time, teen inhibition no longer being an illusion in my now wiser eyes.
“What’s so funny?” one of my friends asked.
“Mario. He doesn’t know what a fool he looks like! He’s gonna be nothing but a laughable memory to everyone around here.”
“Oh yeah, why don’t you go tell him that to his face?!”
They all laughed, but I felt nothing, my attention now turning to Claudia.
“Damn, she’s still as cute as I’ve always remembered. I should go over there and change her world.”
“Yeah Mr. Badass, you do that. We’ll come visit you in the hospital.”
Claudia got up to go buy her guy a soda.
“Watch and learn, boys” I said as I got up to make my move.
It was just her and I alone at the vending machine, something I had fantasized about a million times before.
“Hey Claudia, can I buy you a soda?”
She looked both surprised and a little flattered. Kids were starting to stare.
“Thanks, but I’m just getting this for Mario. You know, my boyfriend…?”
A cheerleader now had his attention, the dumbass not even trying to hide his lust as his eyes followed her long legs up to her short skirt and beyond.
“Yeah, I heard you guys were going out, but I guess it’s not exclusive, right?”
I gestured his way so she could see the obvious, a look of embarrassment coming over her when she spotted his ogling.
With a soft touch I placed my hand over hers and took the can of soda, wiping the top off with my shirt before opening it up and offering it back to her.
“You deserve this a lot more than he does.”
My hand was back around hers as she held the can, her eyes locked in on mine as I guided her to bring it up to her mouth.
It was a hot day so I knew that cool lid must have felt good when I slowly ran it across her bottom lip, then tilting the can up a little so she could take a sip.
“What the fuck?!”
Our intimate encounter was shattered, Mario wasting no time in getting up in my face.
“What the fuck are you doing with my girlfriend?! And who said you could open my soda?”
Another laughable moment of how bullies would show their dominance back in the day, pushing in face-to-face and leaving less than an inch as they showboated their testosterone for all to see. Not a wise decision, to get so close to someone who’ll actually fight back.
I gently slid the can of soda out of Claudia’s hand and back into mine, the full twelve ounces of it minus the sweet little sip still giving a good weight to it.
Without saying a thing I brought it up fast and hard, slamming it into the side of Mario’s face.
He went down crying like a baby.
By now we had absolutely everyone’s attention, and they were about to become even more shocked…
As I turned around back to Claudia I slid my hand around her neck and drew her in for a kiss. And no, not one of those punk-ass one’s Mario would give her. This one was full-on passion, full-on French.
Her knees buckled and I caught her, entrancing the pretty young thing a little more before bringing her back up to her feet.
Everyone, including my little clique was speechless. There was only one thing left to do, walk away, let ‘em all soak it in.
Damn, I love do-overs!
For the next week I was the big man on campus, my middle-aged know-how in my fourteen-year-old body leaving everyone in awe, Claudia at my side leaving me soaring above Cloud 9!
But I still had to stay focused, not willing to throw away this true opportunity of a lifetime for some teenage bliss. At this stage I had a big head start on all those who would later be my competition in life. What company would not want to hire someone who had been honing their skills since such an early age? What bank would not give a sizable loan to someone who had such experience under their belt by the time they reached early adulthood?
And yes, this included a bright healthy smile, so I had to get back to that dentist. The only problem was, although I had youth on my side again, my personal fears were still within me. Scared as shit to sit back in that dentist chair and get tortured again.
Yes, the nitrous oxide really helped in taking me out of the pain and into nirvana, but what if I lost control and was taken back to the future? This was the last thing I wanted to happen, and so I tried to brave it…
But as soon as that long thin piece of steel pierced my gum to inject novocaine I was like a cat in water again, clinging on to that dentist chair drenched in sweat.
I had to have the nitrous oxide.
Back into the vastness of space, both inner and outer, as within the grand scheme of things each is one in the same.
The colors, the clusters, the infinite knowledge just a reach away. But with such wisdom comes the unavoidable. The knowledge of self, including all its deepest fears. At this moment I realized why it takes most human beings a lifetime to reach full understanding. They need those decades to overcome those fears, to be truly centered and balanced. The farthest I had went, I had lived, was less than a half century, with me even having dove my complete being into desire so as to become young again.
Alright, that’s enough!
Pull back, wake up!
But I couldn’t, truth wouldn’t let me, flooding into my being more and more no matter how hard I tried to fight it.
‘Your forty-two year old self is still where you left it. Still waiting for you down in that chair.’
But I was back, I was really fourteen again! I felt every moment, for a whole week!
‘Do you feel time now? Yes, rhetorical, no, you don’t. In this state of all-knowing you must know time is relative. One week at fourteen could have been one hour at forty-two. It was what you wanted, what you desired.
‘But what is true is unavoidable at this level of understanding, and so you can’t hide from the fact that you are an adult, still lying in that chair. Still…’
No, please… I don’t want to go back.
But I couldn’t stop the wormhole from consuming me, the speed of thought, of truthful thoughts, thrusting me back into my middle-aged body.
The mask was removed, my awareness returned, my fingers digging into the ends of the chair’s arm rests.
I wanted to cry.
To Be Continued…
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