Time Kept and Times Lost
In another life I glance at the watch my stepfather gave me when I graduated from high school. I don’t recall the make but it was white gold with diamond chips where numbers would normally be and a black band, perhaps suede. It was some kind of jubilee edition which my family couldn’t have afforded back then but which my stepfather wanted me to always remember.
I did, I do. But in this life, mainly as a memory.
In this life it was stolen during my junior year in college. Until very recently I’d not added things up. We’d had a rash of missing watches, at least a rash for the college I attended, and I’d been oblivious to any connection between the two. Someone had told me that it had been Luis, Diana’s cousin who’d “appropriated” it to meet pressing, albeit not unusual, financial needs. I’d been so in love with Diana that I’d elected to let matters rest, although after all these years, painful though it may be to consider, perhaps it had been my own roommate who’d felt compelled to take it. If so, I hope his reasons were justified, even if unjustifiable. That would explain his profound lifelong affection and respect, affection and respect I never really understood and never felt entitled to. But he’s no longer among us so I’ll never know.
But in that other life I have it still, perhaps a symbol of just how different the choices taken have been.
One purported choice involved Diana, never really mine although I was thoroughly and completely hers. Perhaps I should have told her so. Strange that the two times profound love occurred in this life it involved Dianas, although the latter Diana was as false as the former was true. I lost touch with the wonderful friend of my youth after college and saw little of her my senior year. Adolescent stupidity on my part, egged on by a person I’d considered a mutual friend and even now believe that, in her own way, she was. At that time Diana had been studying drama. Ironic. Later on she became a college professor (philosophy), then a corporate lawyer (I became briefly reacquainted with her then), then a United States attorney, and then, … someone else’s wife and the mother of someone else’s children.
I wonder if in some third alternative universe she was ever mine, but then, “mine” is probably not a concept the Diana I loved would buy into.
Choices. I so often fantasize that I can go back in time and make different decisions but perhaps alternate realities are real and I have. Physics seems to have changed enough so that the fantasies of my youth are now possible probabilities, at least somewhere.
I’ve made so many mistakes in this life, so many decisions I regret, but the consequences seem to have lives of their own, and have been better than they might have been, although all too frequently not by much.
Its decision time again, important decisions on personal and professional levels, and I haven’t a clue which ones are right or which ones I’ll be fantasizing I would change in some less certain future. So much to lose and so little to gain, or at least that’s the way it feels tonight. I have always sought to do the “right” thing by others but have hurt too many others just the same.
I wonder how that other me made out? The one who never “lost” the watch?
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2016; all rights reserved