I was ready to see myself. To turn this corner, wait by this door, to see my younger self come through as I had before. The reality of standing there wasn’t all that much different from the years of imagining it. A simple toilet door.
This side of the door, my side of the door, the gents. Empty then, now empty again but for me.
That side, well. Back then, back when I was first here, when I was that young and it was this same night, I thought it was a glorious time. I’d say that I had been thinking only of rushing back out and being with my new friends. But in truth I hadn’t thought at all. Too excited.
Too full of her.
Now would be different. My younger self will come through that door any moment and I am going to stop me. Just put my hand on his chest and say “Please”. I wondered if my younger self would understand, I wanted to be clever enough to understand, but it doesn’t matter. If I confuse him, if I scare him, it doesn’t matter. Just delay him here for one minute. Stop me going out when he went out before.
Just one minute. A few seconds.
Maybe you can always time travel when you know this, when you know to the minute, to the second when and where it all went wrong. So badly wrong. Outside this room, through that door. The things said and not said. The things I’ve done that I couldn’t ever undo.
Now I can undo them, now I can stop me ever doing them. Just a quiet word with myself and if I listen, great. If I don’t, fine. Delay me and everything will be fine.
I was ready to see myself.
The door moved. The outside door was being opened, my younger self was out there opening it and I was in here seeing how the air and the vibration bumped the inner door. I felt a pressure on my chest, nerves and excitement and a little fear pushing in on me.
Right where I planned to place my hand on him.
I looked down.
My hand was on my chest.
Because I was standing next to me.
I looked older. Substantially older. And not very well. But the me staring at me from a cubicle doorway had the same expression I was planning to use. Serious. Calming. Sober. Strong.
He looked at me as the gents door swung open and I came in.
“Please,” said the me in the cubicle.
He moved his hand from my chest to my arm. It was still only a little touch, a little pressure, but it was commanding and I stepped inside with him.
He closed the cubicle door. Raised a finger to his lips.
And we waited for me to leave. Exactly as I had before.