MONDAY: After, Before


Copyright is held by the author.

EVERYONE IS always concerned about after. You know, families say things like, “After he went to war, he was never the same” or “After the accident, she no longer drove.” I’m more interested in before. I’m tired of after. After is that moment, after a line is drawn. The something that was, no longer is, all because of something horrible that happened after. I miss before too much.

This is why I couldn’t help myself. When I heard I could travel back in time to one moment, any moment before, I couldn’t say no.

There were rules, of course. I couldn’t just go anywhere, only somewhere I’d already been. This was disappointing. I longed to get a good look at the dinosaurs, see Jesus perform a miracle, and be there the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. That wasn’t going to happen.

“What’s the point of that?” I asked the tiny Thai women, Aom, as she sprinkled the magic herb in my tea. “Why see something I’ve already lived?”

“Because you will see with different eyes.” She pushed the cup towards me. I watched the steam rise and wondered, would I be like steam, visible, but almost invisible, after I drank it and went to that moment?

“The moment will choose you.” She said. “Just close your eyes, clear your thoughts and drink. When you come back, you will be like new.”

I figured I must be crazy for believing a word of this, but let me tell you, she looked convincing and the tea smelled damn good.

I closed my eyes. I tried to think of nothing. It was impossible. A million thoughts clouded my mind. Had I answered all my emails? Turned in my work project on time? What was I going to make for dinner? What time was it? I needed to get home. Why on earth was I sitting in this dim lit room listening to Zen music thinking I could travel back in time by drinking tea? Why was there always so much to do? Why did I feel like a machine, always plugged in?

I began to drink.

I felt like I was falling. The room began to blur. I rubbed my eyes. Everything became clear.

My father stood in front of me. The sun was warm, it’s bright light shone through the kitchen window. A tiny version of me held a crystal up to the sun’s rays.

“Look, Daddy!” The tiny me giggled, pointing to the mini rainbows cast across the room.

My father rubbed his eyes. His hands were dirty from work. He looked tired. “Well, will you look at that?” He grinned.

The dim lit room with Zen music came back into focus.

“Well?” Aom asked. “Are you like new?”

I smiled. I was. It was only a moment, one moment from before, but the best moment I’d had in a long time.

I remembered to stop and look at the rainbows.

  1. This is an inspiring, intriguing little piece.

  2. Oh, this was lovely. And made me misty eyed. This story will stay with me. Well done.

  3. Thank you Sandra and June for your kind words! I am glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
    – Sarah Normandie

  4. sucker for a happy ending 🙂

  5. wow, you had me wondering what I’d like to remember given the opportunity. Well done!

  6. Thanks for this, Sarah. After reading another news feed about the Ukraine, a sweet, well written, positive dream is perfect. I liked the tightness – sparse, economical? – of your style – just enough to paint the scenes and leave the rest for us to fill in. Congratulations.

  7. Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments!

  8. Nice work, Sarah. Sweet and full of heart.

  9. […] Program led by Hollywood story structure guru, John Truby. Sarah’s work has been featured at and the Sky Island Journal. She recently completed her novel,?Monsters Like Us,?and is working […]

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