This is a well-worn and well written subject in science fiction and fantasy literature with many conventions and paradoxes. So here’s my contribution. Facebook. Yes. Facebook. I do recall a YA novel that uses Facebook as a time travel device. But my story is real.
Sort of. I graduated from Sunset High School in Hayward CA in 1980. Thirty four years ago. Recently, alumni have been having a virtual reunion on Facebook. Comments about “hey remember when...” or “Whatever happened to…” or “what’s that fun…” and many oaths of fealty and promises of meeting. Whenever I look at their faces, aged though they may be, I see a time machine. I remember these people as they were, or rather as I observed them. I don’t know them today. I don’t know what forces, what emotional changes, what psychic wounds changed them, molded their political, spiritual and any other kind of attitudes.
I’m naive. I expected them to share my flaming liberal views. When I read comments of a conservative bend, I wonder “wait? Is this the person who smoked in the quad, made out on the band bus, drank copious amounts of liquor, picked a fight, dressed fashionable, danced salaciously…you get the idea. See, I’m naive.
Now zoom across the decades, past Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, The Commies, New Wave, Grudge, OJ, Space Shuttle, 9/11, computers, Blackberries, Star mail, the Internet, DVDs, apartments, UCLA Extension, query letters, SCBWI, marriage, daughters, cats, etc…
I could not have foreseen that my wife was in my journalism class. That her maid of honor would be her best friend. That I would be related by marriage to a football player in biology class. That said football player’s son would date my stepdaughter in high school. That another alumnus would be an elementary teacher for my nephew. That another alumnus would officiate my marriage. That I would live in the shadow of Mt. Diablo with a million dollar view.
I am rich in memories. I still dream about high school. I’m late. I don’t know what class I’m supposed to be in. An important assignment is due, but I can’t remember what it is. When I’m awake, I still have unanswered questions about high school. Why did my first girlfriend break up with me after a week? Yes, I’ve written about this before. I still don’t have an answer.
I could list names of the Class of 1980, but they would be foreign to most readers. Yet, to me, their names are pregnant with a moment, a song, a noise and regret.
I’ve covered all the four basic food groups of high school. Girls. Class. Homework. Cafeteria. What this post needs is sensory detail, so now a paragraph of memory, back in time.
I’m in line at lunch. Trays clatter. Stainless steel lids clang over heated lunch trays. It’s Sloppy Joes. Ground beef cooked in tomato sauce with spices. I’m a few people down from a marching band trombone player. He slides his tray in front of his ex-girlfriend serving behind the counter. Her plastic gloves crinkle as she hands him his lunch. He looks blankly at her. She won't look at him, thinking of what they were, what might have been and what they are now.