Chapter 1c

It's strange, but I think I remember the moment of my birth. The sudden shock of transitioning to a world where things like cold and light and pain all exist in full force. I feel like I can remember my body panicking as the outside air rushed around me, forcing my lungs to flutter to life for the first time.

Of course, I don't actually remember any of it. I think the popular opinion on why people don't remember early childhood is that their little brains aren't developed enough to retain information or some bull shit. I'm of the opinion that it's something more like how the brain can repress terrible memories.

Some people repress things like molestation or violent crimes, sometimes there's an occasional psychological fugue. Those things get repressed so why wouldn't the one most devastating instance of any person's history be blacked out? It's bad enough that nobody remembers it, that's what I think. And that first year when all you know how to do is cry and suffer? Followed up by more shitting up your back and exploding diapers?

Life isn't pretty until you start learning to do things. There's nothing that far back that anybody wants to remember, trust me. Once you understand what the world is about, how it works, that's when it becomes your world, something completely unique to you and your person, something that nobody else will ever be able to take or break or mistake or calculate.

Life is such a peculiar thing. It's a peculiar task, I think. It's a task each person is assigned from the moment we are born. We are born with the powers and possibilities of gods, the power to shape the world and the universe and the very fabric of reality and our one simple task? Make use of it.

And we do. Each person does, regardless of how they fight it, each person is responsible for billions of tiny choices, tiny intersections of fate. Maybe if we remembered birth we could remember that. Maybe if we remembered childhood we'd all know our task. Maybe that's why I think I remember mine.

Of course, I don't actually remember any of it. It's been a drinking night so I can't attest to the functionality of this, but I decided to write to myself today. If I am to be robbed of my past, I will at least be given my future. That was what I decided. So I wrote a cautionary message to myself twenty years in the past. I said to look for the answers to life's questions, get them before I hit my own age. I told myself to remember death, that we all go the same way, but to remember life. It was a cheery missive of self-preservation and pride in the potential it would give my alternate self. It was also a short list of Fortune 500 companies founded withing the last two decades along with a plan to strategically invest money gained by accepting the maximum amount of student loans as soon as I enter college. For a caveat, I threw in the winning numbers to last week's $175,000,000 jackpot.

I crumpled it up, set it on fire and scattered the ashes to the wind. I know this seems like an impractical way to send a message into the past but I don't think so. The way I figured, either it would get there or it wouldn't, fifty-fifty, same odds as sending a letter in the mail. I already knew the message didn't arrive. I mean, of course I knew. How could I not?

I knew because I hadn't invested my borrowed money in the right companies at the right times. I hadn't invested it at all. I hadn't just won the lottery and said, since I'm already so rich, since I handed myself two decades worth of fortune to be made, I'd like to give a hundred dollars to one point whatever's-left-after-taxes million randomly selected people or maybe invest in it a couple charity organizations. I could just spend my millions, I guess, or the millions I'd collected before but did it really benefit me?

With enough of any edge, I could own this world. I didn't, though, so I knew my transmission had not completed. That's okay, too, though. If it doesn't go to me, maybe it goes to another person or even another me. Maybe there's a world where I did get that letter and I'm rich right now. Sure, I could have gotten rich and he could have the life I have right now but that wouldn't really be any different, would it? So yes, that's what I'm choosing to believe.

With my future in place and past nothing more than a bad memory I'm happy to have forgotten, all that was left to worry about was the present. It's arguable that present is the hardest tense to deal with, everything always has to be happening right now and right now and right now but I think maybe I'm finally equipped for it.

Given that diagnosis, maybe a younger me did get my message. That's definitely possible. With all that time to learn and grow maybe he got more meaning from it than I was conscious of putting in. Maybe I did, that is. Maybe that letter did change me and I was just smart enough to repress that, too, my second time being birthed into a new world. Yeah, that makes the most sense, I think.