The letter reads:
“Dear 18-year-old self,
I wonder if James ( I changed the name to Paris) has died (I changed that to ‘fallen’) yet.”
10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
…did her heart just stop?
I can’t believe I am here. I swore I would never come back. But here I am. With my feet planted on the rocks covered with decaying leaves. Here I am at the bottom of the steps. Now I just need to bring myself to climb up.
I close my eyes, clenching my fists at my sides.
I need to do this. There has to be a way. Breathing in, I open my eyes and begin the long trek up the steps. I stop, feeling the gentle breeze waft through my hair. No one knows about this place. No one but my sister, and my parents.
I begin the countdown.
10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
…did my heart just stop?
I’m at the top, and there it is. The bench, the view, the mountains, and the branch where my sister hung before she plunged to her death.
I suck in the air.
Just as I left it eight years before, there is the rock lying under the bench, unmoved.
I drop to my knees and edge it to the side. A white piece of paper peeks out from underneath. I stop. What if this doesn’t work? Will I get my hopes up for nothing?
I have to do it.
I grunt, pushing the rock out of place. The paper is there, a little wet, a little dirty, but I grab it and open it. I can still make out the writing.
That was me, my stupid ten year old self who wrote this letter as a joke. My sister always used to love this place. She would lean over the edge of the mountain and feel the breeze pushing against her auburn hair and blue eyes. I would warn her not to fall. She would laugh and dismiss me.
Then one day, it happened. We were talking, and as usual, she leaned over the edge and a gust of wind slapped her back and she slipped, and fell. She hung onto that branch, far down enough for me not to be able to reach her, then she lost her grip and she fell. It was all my fault. I wrote that dumb letter. I didn’t mean it. It was only a joke. But it became true the day that she died. I’ve always blamed myself. I never did anything to stop her. All I did was tell her not to do it. But I never did anything. She was younger then me. It should have been me.
I fumble through my pocket and fish out a pen. Pressing it down onto the bench, my shaking hand manages to write some words onto the bottom of the page.
“Dear 8-year-old self,
Your sister is going to die if you don’t stop her. Do something. Tell her not to lean over the edge of the mountain. Grab her. Please. Do something. It will determine your whole future.
Your 18-year-old-self “
When Paris died, my Mother’s heart broke and a couple weeks later she passed. My Father’s heart was broken twice, and he has never been the same. It’s like he has forgotten who he is. Like he doesn’t care about anything anymore. He barely looks at me anymore. I want to change that. I want to have my old Dad back. If my old self finds this letter, she will know, and she will be able to do something about it.
I look at my watch. It’s a time watch. It enables me to go back to the past. But, if I do, I will never be able to go back to the future again. I won’t know anything about what I did in the future, so I won’t remember my sister dying. I won’t even know about my warning under the rock. It’ll all be by chance. If I don’t find the paper and Paris falls, I’ll have to live the sorrow over again. If I find the paper, everything will go back to normal. I fold up the paper and stick it under the bench, placing the rock on top of it.
I place my thumb and index finger on the face of my watch and twist clockwise. Then, I pull out the tab, twist my fingers anti-clockwise, twist the tab to the time frame of 8:00 and push the tab back in. I glance around, close my eyes and feel myself swaying.
My eyes flutter open. Ah. Another beautiful day. I glance out the already open window, blinking to take the blurriness away.
I push the covers of my chest and kick my feet up, sliding of the side of the bed and feeling the soft carpet beneath my feet.
I smile. My younger sister Paris is still sprawled across the bed, her hair spread around her small face like the mane of a lion. The sheets are half pushed of her, and her leg, covered in the cloth of mint green pajamas is hanging of the edge of the bed, while her arm is propped up against the wall.
I grin. It’s Saturday. A beautiful time of the week.
A head sticks in the doorway. “How are my lovely girls this morning?” It’s my Dad. His eyes twinkle. “Ready for another day?”
I nod and grin. He comes over and gives me a hug, despite my tousled hair, squinty eyes and bad morning breath. “How’s my little girl?” he picks me up, despite me already being ten years old, and swings me around. I giggle. “Good. And how are you, Daddy?”
“As bright as ever!” he said, kissing my cheek and placing me down.
I love my Daddy. He is the funnest, happiest guy I have ever seen. I hear the familiar aroma of bacon and egg drifting into my room, and I guess Mom is in the kitchen getting breakfast ready. “Get dressed now.” Dad says. He walks over to Paris, and shakes her shoulder gently. “Paris, honey,” he says, “Wake up!”
Paris stirs. Her eyes open, she smiles when she sees Dad, then she turns around and I can see her chest lifting heavily like it does when she’s fast asleep.
“Let her sleep for a little while longer.” Dad winks. He grabs my yesterday clothes of the floor and chucks them at me. I laugh, and he walks out the door. I hear his heavy slippers hitting the wooden stairs.
I slip into my clothes, and troop down the stairs.
Life is good. I have funny parents, a beautiful little sister, a great home, nothing bad could ever happen.
Breakfast is over, and Paris has already been sitting with us for ten minutes. She asks Mom if we can go for a walk in the forest.
She says yes.
I know what my sister means. She wants to go ‘the bench’. The place where we always go and talk about things that a eight year old and a ten year old talk about. I grin.
“Just be careful.” Dad says. “I don’t want you hurting yourselves.”
So a few minutes later Paris and I are walking through the forest, holding hands and talking about the future. Roses and other flowers adorn the forest.
We never talk about this. I don’t know why we are now. We usually talk about our gardens, or our collection of barbie dolls. But not today. I like this. Paris is saying how she wants to have ten children. I laugh.
“You don’t want that.”
“Yes I do.” Paris says. “I could even have twenty!”
“I couldn’t.” I say. I look at her. “What if I forgot about you?”
“I would never forget about you.” Paris says. She is two years younger then me, but she is sometimes like my older sister, and she is almost as tall as I am.
I smile. “I love you.” Paris squeezes my hand. We reach the stairs and we climb up.
We reach the top, and I immediately sit down, the view of the mountains seeping in.
I know what Paris will do. She will go right to the edge of the mountain and dream of flying. And I will look quickly over my shoulder and tell her to be careful.
She goes to the edge and leans forward a little. “This is soooo pretty, Kari!”
“Be careful, Paris! Someday you’ll fall!” I say. My foot kicks a rock underneath the bench. I remember the note that I wrote there. I roll my eyes. I move the rock out of place and pick up the paper. My eyes scan it, and they reach the bottom. Down there, is something I never wrote. It’s a warning. From me. Eight years from now. I look up and turn around. “Paris!” I yell.
My yell frightens her and she titters and screams. I leap up and grab her hand, pulling her up. “Don’t do that, Paris!!” I scold her. “I told you one day you will fall!” I say, pulling her into a hug. I can feel her body shaking against me.
She nods. “I won’t.”
I smile. Before our walk home, I take the paper from under the rock. The writings below have disappeared. I breath heavily. Closing my eyes, I rip it up and crumple the pieces in my hand. I sprinkle them over the cliff, careful not to get to close the edge.
“What was that, Kari?” Paris asks.
“Oh, nothing.” I say. “Don’t do that anymore, okay?”
My heart is still beating. I think an angel put those words there. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have tried to stop my sister.
Well, I hope you liked that! It was a little weird, but oh well. 😉 😀