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Parallel Lines

Flash Backwards

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

“Goodbye sis!” I hugged my eldest as I headed into the airport. I had a long day of travel ahead of me, as it was 4 a.m. and the cross-country journey would take me a full 12 hours. I had been on so many airplanes that the process from getting my tickets to sitting in my seat seemed to go by in a flash. As I walked through my day in my mind, I found myself troubled by all of life’s daily challenges. Paying the mortgage and HOA, worried if my family will get ticketed for not pressure washing the driveway in time. Keeping the kids safe and sound, raising them right, and above all, trying not to lose my mind or my patience. Maintaining and building my relationship with my wife, loving her and staying close to her, while learning to love (or at least tolerate) the things that make her human, as she does with me. A thought crossed my mind of senior year of high school, calculus class. Most days I am too busy to hop into a memory, as time passes second for second when mind traveling. But today, I was on the airplane home and had at least two hours of undisturbed time, so I plugged in my Omega™ link into the small insert on my neck that I got a few years back after the pandemic. It was about a pin-sized hole, but recovery for that surgery was not something I would do again. Many upgrades have come out in the last few years, but I’ll stick with the older one for now. As it booted, I focused on this day of high school that stood out strongly in my mind, and had been reoccurring in my head now for years.

The Omega™ went to work, disabling my motor abilities and connecting the Motor Ability Virtual Reality by initiating a software called Motor Ability Transfer. This system made sure that you could live your memory without physically hurting yourself. Some hackers have found a way to bypass the M.A.T. to enable full body experience, but it is extremely risky, as you will not know the surroundings you are in. It works best for those memories where your location is exactly the same as the memory you are experiencing.

My eyes blurred, and then went black. The cold air from the airplane vents became neutral, and the clothes I was wearing transformed into a simple white tee and black shorts. My eyes then awoke to a blank room with a 3D floating screen that spanned from a height of my waist to my chest. To the right of the screen was the AI M.A.T. I chose his avatar to be Alakazam, as I was a huge Pokémon fan and he was known to have an I.Q. in the thousands. The M.A.T. avatar spoke; “Hello Perry Krain. It has been 86 days since your last experience. Are you wanting to enter your most recent memory?”

I never chose this option, as sometimes your last memory is the one right before you enter the system. Recent real-life experiences often triggered past memories. “No. Please show me my list of recent thoughts.” As I expected, my most recent memory that had appeared was the pretzels from Delta Airlines on my first flight when I was 5. Because I had just eaten some pretzels on my current flight, it had triggered that past memory. I scrolled to the right. The interface developed by Omega™ was very clean. You could scroll through each memory as a video file, while hovering would preview the memory. As I chose to access recent thoughts instead of just memories, many thoughts were also in the scroll. However, since thoughts don’t always attach to images, these were small grey boxes.

I chose the file from 2011, as that was the only one that was so dated. “Would you like to connect to the full experience, or retain your thoughts and emotions?” Asked Alakazam.

“I would like to retain my thoughts and emotions.” I usually selected this option, as I am more interested in taking my adult self to past experiences.

The Alakazam avatar suddenly blended and dissolved into a ball of light that entered my forehead. My vision blurred again and I felt my body move to the seated position (which was only the M.A.T system at work). “The memory will be ready in 3 minutes.” Be sure to focus on this memory to increase rendering of visual, audio, and physical effects. Loading times were never a problem, as the mind was faster than most supercomputers when accessing local files. It took about one minute for every 5 years you go back into your memory.

As the scene formed and my vision cleared, I was seated in the back row, middle seat of a class size of about 30. In front of me was Heather, a popular girl who was very intelligent, but didn’t always like to show it. “Wow, I totally forgot she was in this class!” She was beautiful, but I was fairly sure I wasn’t her type.

Immediately I felt my younger physical form. My breathing was very clear and strong. My body felt thin, but powerful. I could barely see, as my thick hair covered most of my vision. I was wearing dark blue jeans, “My old favorite pair!” I thought to myself. I was in a thick, white checkered sweatshirt. At the end of the sleeves were holes to put my thumbs. “What a dumb trend. I snickered.

No one could hear what I said or thought, as these are only memories after all, and cannot be altered. Even though I am sitting in the exact place of my younger self and experiencing all of the same thoughts, emotions, and feelings, my current thoughts and emotions are not registered in the scene, but only in my mind, as this was the option I had chose when I entered this memory.

My younger self’s thoughts and emotions were registered on the User Interface at the bottom of my vision. They scrolled by, and I paused the scene to read them. I there was a high level of anxiety that registered under “relationships”. It reminded my how much my past self worried about what other people thought all the time. Various thoughts scrolled by such as “I wonder if Heather thinks I’m hot”, “I wish Melanie was single, she is amazing”, “Did i take care of the pimple on my face from this morning? It is still bothering me”, “I can’t believe I walked around all day with a big pimple on my forehead”, “Tracy tries way too hard, but I have to respect that she always gets 100’s”. Woah. Thank God I’m married. I forgot what it was like to have a mind always running and constantly thinking about dating options.

I resumed the scene, and Mr. Osterson began speaking. “Your A.P. test results are in. Congratulations to Brandi, Alex, Callie, Thomas, and Tracy for getting 5’s! Because of their excellence, I will let you choose what you want to do for class today.” Anxiety registered across the screen again. This was because I had chosen not to take the test and Mr. Osterson was disappointed.

The whole class cheered. It was the end of the semester, and it was Mr. Osterson’s last year, so he had loosened up on us after a grind of a semester. Melanie, Callie, and Tracy immediately shouted “Mean Girls!” They had been wanting to show him a scene from the movie that talked about Calculus. I rolled my eyes in the back.

“Man, life was simpler back then.” Eventually, the bell rang, and I began to walk home. My house was only a few blocks away, and as high school was ending, I remembered that I really appreciated these walks home, as a new phase of my life was about to begin. About halfway to my house, thoughts and emotions began running furiously across the bottom of the screen. The anxiety level rocketed under the category of “loneliness”. Now this is a feeling I remember still to this day. As I walked to my dad’s house, I knew it would be empty. I relished in being alone because I had a big family and rarely got alone time. But since moving to my dads, being alone had become a normal thing, as he often returned to the house late, and my stepmom was often in Ecuador for business or family. The relishing had turned into major anxiety, as I had been in a routine of daydreaming about girls, and eventually leading into actions that I didn’t like to give into, but found myself helpless at the will of my physical body. As I approached my street, and then my house, the anxiety built to a peak. I knew what my younger self was about to do, and I was happy to receive a message on the U.I. saying “We are about to touch down in 15 minutes, please move your tray tables and seats back to their forward, upright position.” I exited the memory, and was reminded of how happy I am to be where I am today instead of back where I was those 15 years ago. An instant feeling of relief, followed by a stronger, lasting feeling of accomplishment settled in my chest. Although some things carry with me today from my past, I am so thankful to where God has brought me today. I prepared to land and got ready to call my wife, and smiled thinking of seeing my two little ones.

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