Grandma's Letters To Her Mysterious Time-Traveling Lover
July 13, 1959
I miss you terribly. It has been too long since I felt your touch, the warm breath on the back of my neck. I ache for you, Colby, and long to relive our time in the hayloft, and the potting shed, and the couch.
I don't know why I mentioned the couch last.
I know you will never read this letter, for you left no address behind when you disappeared back to the future. I do it for myself, I think, to help salve my soul, and the void you left behind. You were the light of my life, dearest Colby. You entered it like a flash of light, in truth, stumbling forward, asking what year it was. Shell-shocked, from the war, I thought, though the war had ended a solid decade earlier.
My friends think I'm a fool for falling for you. They say no man can travel through time. But they're fools -- simple, petty fools. They did not know you like I did, nor did they experience your bizarre language and customs, which could only come from the future. "Yolo swag money, fam," you whispered to me tenderly, and I believed every word of it. You spoke in such riddles, dearest Colby. I suppose you were one yourself.
You left nothing behind but memories, and this strange device you called a phone, though it looked like no phone I have ever seen. It has become my most treasured possession, and not a night passes that I don't take it from my box of keepsakes and cradle it.
Even if it has lost its magic.
Oh how I long for your touch, that could make such angry birds dance! Please sext me back, darling. Did I say that correctly?
Oct. 4, 1959
I have news. I am with child.
It is yours. It can be no one else's. But, oh what to think? Is it a gift, Colby, a treasure you gave me in parting? Or is it a burden? It is both, I think, and it pained me greatly to admit it.
I have additional news. As you know, I am a pragmatic and practical girl, and I have decided to marry another man. I will not raise a child alone, and this man is a stolid and understanding one. He also has a limited understanding of womanly ways. He will raise your child as his own.
I have attached a picture of him here, for some reason.
Interestingly, he has the same last name as you. I wonder if this was my subconscious longing for you.
Further news. I am angry with you. Even if you never read these words, I hope this letter angers you, Colby. I hope it humbles you. I hope you show some damned glimmer of emotion, like you showed me on the couch that summer that now seems so long ago.
But know that I will never stop loving you.
Sept. 17, 1961
It has been a long time since I wrote, and I plead for your forgiveness. Or perhaps my forgiveness, for I am the only one reading these. Sometimes I worry our love has driven me mad.
It has been a trying time for me, raising our child. Michael is his name. He's happy and healthy and has sticky hands. He reminds me of you, Colby.
Colby. Simply whispering your name to myself fills me with such warmth. Colby. Colby. Colby. Such a bold name. So futuristic. Men our age have such plain names. David. Stanley. David again. They bore me, Colby. They're so simple, and almost never make proclamations about the future. Oh how I remember our time together, walking hand in hand as you pointed out incredible sights to me. "That's going to be an Arby's eventually." Such riddles, unknowable to me.
Who was this "Arby"? Why was he so important to you?
I love you always,
Jan. 28, 1972
It has been a long time now. I worry that your features are slipping from my mind, and that I might one day forget when I first laid eyes on you and noted how you looked a bit like me. No, this must not happen! Though I knew you only briefly, and our love-making was even briefer still, I will never forget you.
Why have you not returned? Did I imagine you promising that to me? Have you taken another lover? Or are you still in love with the integrity of your precious timeline?
I cannot complain or judge. I have loved another, in a way. My husband is kind and thoughtful and present in a way you are not. By every objective measure, he is superior to you.
Also, he's pleasant. I forgot that one.
But by God, he never traveled through time, did he? Oh how I ache for the loins of a time-traveling man.
Incidentally, the dire predictions you made all came true. The endless war in Vietnam. JFK. The Beatles.
So many lives wasted.
If I needed any proof you were truly from the future, I now have it. Odd that you couldn't be more precise about your dire predictions. It's almost as if you studied the 1960s casually, like a barely-skimmed-through magazine article. It occurs to me that your endless hunt for baseball cards may have been a greater motivation than you let on. The incident with you and the sports almanac also sticks with me, your endless hunt for it, the zeal in your eyes when you found it, then the realization and anger and repeated slaps to your own face, as you shrieked, "Wrong way, dummy!"
I think of you always,
Nov. 4, 1989
You have been a very, very, very bad boy.
So Michael and his wife returned from the hospital with their lovely son, my grandson. Interesting news. They chose to name him Colby.
Colby. Colby. Colby. You little shit, Colby
You know what you did, Colby.
I told no one that name. I told no one of our time in the hayloft, and the potting shed, and the couch. No one knew your name but I. And when you looked up at me from that cradle with your eyes, with my eyes, with those oh-god-what-have-you-done eyes, I knew.
You are disgusting, Colby. You have ruined this family for an infinitude of generations. You are a cur, and a heel, and a blot on the fabric of space and time. You will also, in time, become a selfish, selfish lover.
I despise you, Colby.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist in a variety of different timelines. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
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