Six months into 2019, if I had to do one thing, I swear to you, I would build a time machine.
It doesn’t end there.
I’d build a time machine and zap my way back in time, to the first day of 2019.
I’m not talking about that horrible New Year’s party. I’m talking about the aftermath of that party.
What happened at the party was awful, but, to me, what happened after, was even more awful.
If I knew then, the chain of events that I’d set off by a chance remark, I’d go back to that fateful morning, when my parents were sitting at the breakfast table, staring blankly into their coffee cups. So that, when my past self walked groggily up to the table and opened her mouth to say what she did, I’d smack a hand over her mouth to shut her up.
Here’s how it all went down.
First, there was that ill-fated New Year party at my Dad’s hospital, that I just couldn’t get out of. I even promised to clean the house, like, for a whole month. But my parental unit was adamant. So, under protest, I landed up at what started off as the most boring party of the year.
What happened next was something that turned it into the most talked about New Year party of the century, at least for our tiny suburb of New Jersey.
I was talking to my Dad’s boss, Dr. Patel. He was going on about why, as a good American girl of Indian origin, it was my duty to take up medicine, and I was doing my best not to roll my eyes.
Luckily for me, his phone rang, and as he pulled it out of his coat pocket, it slipped from his hands and landed on the floor.
One second, I was upright, talking to Dr. Patel, and the next, I bent down to pick up the phone. Between those two seconds, a shot rang out, and Dr. Patel crashed to the floor, with a smoking hole in his forehead.
He was D-E-A-D…dead.
They caught the guy who did it, and I looked on, stupefied, as the cops dragged him out.
We came back home, in a daze, wondering who that man was, and why he shot poor Dr. Patel.
The next morning, I walked groggily up to my parents, and said, “Mom, I had a weird dream.”
I sat down next to Mom and put my head on her shoulder.
“What did you see, baby?”
“I saw the whole shooting incident.”
“That’s expected, Anu,” said Dad.
“Your mind was reacting to the trauma.”
I should have shut up while I was still ahead.
“That’s not all. In my dream, when the cops were taking him away, the guy turned to me, and smiled. And he said, ‘Until next time, princess’.”
There was pin drop silence for a minute.
I raised my head.
My parents were staring at each other, and there was something on their faces that I’d never seen before… stark fear.
And I swear to you, I do not know how one weird dream triggered off a panic that made my parents wind up our whole life in New Jersey and drag me all the way to Mumbai, to set up a new life.
But, I won’t rest until I find out.
I wrote this story as part of the Write Tribe Zombie blog hop. The prompt was “Six months into 2019”. I was tagged for this, by Natasha and after my post, we come a full circle to the first post by The Frangipani Creative.
By Kimaya Kolhe
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