Since this story is first person, obviously I didn’t die. Sorry to disappoint anyone who hoped I wasn’t going to make it in the end. But my girlfriend didn’t make it. Julie. She was hit by a car, some careless ass hit her in the ass, knocking her to the ground and killing her. God. Damn. It.
I couldn’t cry. Not because I’m a goth, no. I have feelings and I do cry like any person, just not when it’s too painful to come out. Our friend, Rose, also came to the funeral (small venue, small circle of friends/family), and she was bawling her eyes out. I wish I could have cried like that for my love, but I couldn’t. I just…
After the service, I walked down Main and Third, hoping for a bagel. Instead, in a brilliant flash of light equal to that of the big bang or creation (depending on your tastes), I got an asshole.
He was dressed in what I could only describe as a “Seventies Suit.” His hair matched the era and he had a pompous swagger to him. Guys like him are the reason I hate men.
“Brian Gary, 70’s renaissance man. Time traveler.” He handed me his card.
I lowered my eyes. “Uh-huh.” He was just laughing at me.
He then literally laughed at me. “Aria, right? What a name. And those clothes! What are you, a mistress of the times? Whip whip whip!” Yeah. Men suck.
“How did you know my name? And I’m goth.”
“Well, your future self asked me to help you out. Normally I don’t change history, but for a… lady? I’ll do it.”
“My future self.”
“Yes! She asked me to save Julia.”
“Yes. Sweet, blonde Julie in the black satin gown, gone by a bumper car.”
“She got hit by a car!” Was this asshat for real?
“Look, do you want my help or not?”
I threw some F’s at him and told him to stick his time travel where it doesn’t shine. He pulled out a black ring. My black ring.
“Let me see that!” My dad’s inscription was still there: “Aria–to my favorite song, with love, your father.”
“Your future self paid me to help you get Julie back and gave me that because she knew you wouldn’t believe me. Frankly, who would?”
I clutched the ring. “What’s your deal, Brian Gary?” I made a point to remember people’s names.
“Nothin’ much, lady. I got caught in a bicentennial explosion of red, white and blue, which gave me time powers. I love this age. Right after the worst stuff, right before the end of the world. Sweet spot.”
I was going to mention the president as “worst stuff” still existing, but he must have known more than I did on the matter. For once, I saved it for later.
“Fine. I would love to save my love. How do we do this?”
He looked confused. “Oh. Are you coming with me? I was under the impression I should stick my time travel up my butt.”
I clenched my teeth at the remarkable jackass. “Yes. I’m going with you.”
He stuck out a hand. “Shall we?”
He paused. “Come on, Aria. Time to go.”
He frowned. “Are we going or not?”
“I don’t touch men,” I said. “Well, my father, if he were alive.”
He clenched his teeth back at me. “Okay. Then get on all fours.”
“What?” Did he think I was that kind of woman?
“I’m going to lay on your back. You don’t want to touch men, fine. But we need to go back a week like, right now.”
“Wha–a week? Why not a few days ago, when she got hit?”
He sighed. “Look. This isn’t Quantum Leap, okay? You don’t directly change events. You go back a week. You convince Julie to come to your house later that week instead of crossing Birch St. and getting hit.”
That… made sense, actually. “Okay.”
“Also, you’ll replace yourself from a week ago and will have to live over everything, including your… flow.” Brian Gary made a face.
“My period? Little punishment for saving Julie.”
“Time periods, yes! Anyway, I won’t be affected since I’m the ‘time machine,’ so to speak.”
“Got it. Climb on my back, Brian Gary.”
He jumped like an assface onto my back, digging his elbow into me. A flash of colorless light erupted around us and…
A giant clock and blue translucent tubes appeared from nowhere. We flew into the clock with gusto and ended up as smoking heaps in the alley.
Good God, where were we? Right. A week ago.
“I forgot to mention, as a passenger, you’ll be disoriented. You’re pretty cute for a week ago. Before the Neeeeeer! Errrrrrr! CRASH! Dead girlfriend. Occurred.” I wanted to hit him. But I still needed his help getting up.
He picked me up by the armpits and I hit him in the stomach. “I can take it from here, thanks. Oh,” I fished out my future self’s ring from Daddy. “Make sure I get this back. Ta.”
“I’m taking an observer role. Wouldn’t want you to make any events heavily altered.”
“Like saving someone from death?” I didn’t get him at all.
Brian Gary glowered. “Just trust me.”
I remembered Julie would often go to the doughnut shop on Tuesdays, so we went there. I saw a dead pigeon on the way and Brian Gary asked, “You want to save that one too, sweetheart?”
“How did my future self hear about you?”
He shrugged. “Time loop. You remembered meeting me, she sought me out via Yahoo email. Only email worth a damn in the future. Anyhoo, it was the first time I met her, so don’t think I’m doing this as a friend. I cost lots of money.”
I was going to kid him that “Yeah he does,” but he really was helping me out here. I loved Julie, from the time we met dancing under an overpass to her pale skinned body laying in that black coffin.
As I walked to the shop, I remembered Rose introducing us. She looked worried about something, I don’t know what. Julie kissed me on the mouth and said, “I think hellos should be as personal as possible.”
“Well,” I said, “now you’re just getting personal. But how would you like–”
There in the doughnut shop were Rose and Julie, kissing at their table. Not to get all school girl, but a kiss to me is more than a hello. They were discreetly frenching, which made matters much more than personal.
I stormed the shop. “Rose, you, and, and, and Julie?”
Julie just pouted. “Oh, so it’s over now.”
Rose held up a hand to her. “Not so. I’m done pretending. Julie, I love you. I don’t want to use Aria to hide who I am anymore. I’m telling my family what I am. Who I am.”
“Using me?” I finally cried. “Using me for what?”
Julie squinted. “I was only with you to cover up that I was with Rose. Her family’s strictly religious and wouldn’t accept this if they knew. So we used you to cover up our love.”
“That makes no sense,” said the doughnut shop owner. “Also, please do this elsewhere.”
We all left and fought for an hour. It ended like so:
“Fine. It’s over. But Julie, promise me in a week you won’t cross Birch St.”
“No. I go home that way. Why should I listen to you?”
“Please. Please, Julie. If you’ve ever loved me, even a little, you’ll go down another street that day.”
She looked at Rose with worry. “I trust you. But just that day.”
They left, leaving me to cry with Brian Gary awkwardly standing around.
“Gosh,” he muttered. “Integrity move, Aria. Even after finding all that out, you saved her.”
I just sobbed, snot running down my face.
“Don’t ruin it,” he said, handing me a plaid handkerchief.
“Ah zdill lubb her,” I said, blowing my nose.
“Of course, whatever that means.”
“I said, I still love her.”
“It will take time, as I’ve surely seen throughout history. You’ll never forget her, as your future self has proven, but you’ll move on.”
I paused my sobs. “You knew. The whole time, you knew.”
He stretched pompously. “Of course! The future you had to tell me everything to save her friend. I didn’t want a time paradox or time’s fabric to shred. She only did it to preserve history. What, like I really care about some dyke’s lost love?”
He’s from the 70’s, he’s from the 70’s, he’s from the…
I kicked him in the balls with my pointed boots.
He collapsed to the ground. “She… didn’t tell me… you’d do that…”
“Smart woman,” I spat. I left him there.
I met someone that Thursday, since I wasn’t with Julie at the time. Larry. Another goth, but a male. Yes, it turns out I was bisexual the whole time. You learn something new about yourself every day. Oh, and he’s bi, too.
Our wedding was bleak and gorgeous. Julie, Rose and I buried the hatchet that day. I made them my bridesmaids and we got along just fine since then. I’m glad I reached out to Brian Gary, even if he was a smug assfart.
In a small apartment with a baby and another on the way, I recalled Brian Gary. I took off my father’s ring, pulled out his card and gave him a message. He was right about Yahoo.
We arranged to meet up at my house to go through the details. He was not kind about the living arrangements.
When we finished talking, he said it would cost 30 thousand. And he was right about not being cheap. I think he lowered the price because he felt sorry for me.
“One more thing,” he said with a chuckle. “Do you ever attack me? I don’t want to, heh, get kicked in the family jewels or anything.”
I recalled his dyke comment to me. I smiled innocently. “Nope.”