Last Saturday I ate a quesadilla in bed.
The trek to the kitchen to microwave it had been hard enough; I couldn’t imagine sitting upright at the table to consume it. So I sludged back to the dark hole that was my bedroom, slipped under the covers and dove into the melted cheese.
I didn’t anticipate waking up with head full of snot, and it wasn’t exactly my plan to sit, worthless, for an entire morning, subconsciously hoping my head would burst like a mucus filled gusher so it would all be over.
I was cold and hot, achy and restless, congested and pissed off. I wanted to watch a movie, something sad and depressing, something that would simultaneously validate my self-pity and quiet it in the face of something far worse. A part of me also wanted something sappy, something that would make me cry and long for affection in between the sniffles and the hacking.
About Time was taped on my DVR. It stars Rachel McAdams and a fresh faced ginger gentleman who has the ability to time travel. He learns of his ability from his father, on New Year’s Day, and is in immediate disbelief. His father explains the seriousness of his words, and lists only a few stipulations: You can only travel backwards to places and moments you yourself have experienced, and the only actions required to do so are to find a dark room, clench your fists, and focus on the moment you wish to return to.
The man, Tim, immediately begins putting his gift to use, mostly to land himself a girlfriend. He tries all different types of lines, tactics, and timings to see if it would make the love of his life reciprocate his feelings. In an exact quote from the movie, after many failed attempts to win the love of this girl, Tim states, “No amount of time travel will get someone to fall in love with you.” This line made me think, laugh even, at all the awkward/sad/terrible moments I’ve had, that I’ve wished so hard that I could change or take back. But, as Tim did, I would find that changing the cringe-worthy moments does nothing but ripple away the moments that followed. We’ll never know which moments lead us where, we just have to trust that they all happen for a reason, that they are all part of a plan.
At the end of the movie, Tim’s father passes away, but Tim continues to visit him using his time travel. The day comes however, when the both of them know that it is the last time Tim will be able to travel back to see him, and the mood of the memory becomes very heavy. Tim asks his father, hoping to brighten their spirits, if there’s anything he’d like to do, any place he’d like to go on this last day together, and his father quickly nods. The screen momentarily fades and then we are brought to the beach the family frequented throughout Tim’s life. His father walks into the frame holding the hand of a young, red headed boy that we soon figure out is Tim.
Any moment, any place, any part of his life was available for the two of them to explore, and Tim’s father chooses perhaps one of the simplest memories he has. An ordinary day with his son, just a simple walk on the beach.
When I think of all the days I might choose to go back to, should I get the chance, the “best” days that initially flash through my mind are the extravagant, one of a kind days that I brag about. The days that I tell endless stories of, the days when all my troubles seemed to melt at the hands of wonder. But I know there will be days to come when those heart pumping, head rushing days won’t mean nearly as much as the seemingly ordinary ones.
In 2007, my Papa (my grandfather) died in his sleep of a heart attack. I can remember the day perfectly. It was a Sunday. I was lying on the couch watching The Lake House, when my Grammie called with the news. I remember my mom coming home and picking up my sister from her softball game and the long, silent drive to Santa Clarita. I remember all the tears and shared memories and the funeral a week later.
After the grief settled in, and we began to move back into our normal pattern, I realized all of the little things that I suddenly missed. I missed the way he sang “Hiiiii” into the phone receiver when he called to ask about my softball game. I missed way he laughed. I missed the days when I’d sit on one of the rocks that lined his driveway as he picked me an orange and told me a story. Every day, ordinary things, that made him the extraordinary, one of a kind man.
So, as I ate my quesadilla in bed, I looked at the moments surrounding this seemingly pathetic one. I was sat on a comfortable bed, in a warm house, with a loving family that is healthy, in a country that is free. Maybe this moment wasn’t so bad after all. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll think of it someday, when the world is complicated and I wish I were back here, in this moment, on this day. A day when all I had to worry about was taking a Tylenol and staying hydrated. A day when my mom knocked on my door, just to say hi, and my dad asked how I was doing. A day that, in its own right, was perfect.