13 September 2015

September 13, 1940 September 13, 2015

I couldn’t understand why some people were staring at me. Most of them didn’t maintain their gaze for very long. They’d see me, take a good long look and then turn away. A few shook their heads as if in disgust. I double checked to make sure I had clothes on and that my zipper wasn’t down. Everything seemed fine. I even touched my hair to make sure that it wasn’t too mussy. It was fine too. Then I checked my clothes again looking for any stains or anything else unusual. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Nothing at all. So why were people looking at me? This wasn’t a dream. I was sure of that. What I wasn’t sure of was exactly where I was or how I got there. Then I realized I didn’t know what day it was. Tuesday? Saturday? No idea. Hell, I could’t even recollect the month or even the year. This was bad, real bad. Maybe my confusion was somehow related to why people were staring at me. But then why would people stare at a person just because he was confused? I knew I wasn’t acting at all peculiar. I was just standing on the sidewalk in a downtown area.

After a minute or so I started feeling really scared. If I didn’t know where I was, where would I go? Where was home? Was there anyone around I knew or who knew me? I looked around some more and realized that I was in my hometown. Well heck, why didn’t I recognize it before? But it seemed odd, different somehow. Things around me were coming into focus. I finally noticed the cars going by. They were all old cars, but nicely restored ones. Then it occurred to me that people were dressed differently than me. Wait a second…everything seemed different, the buildings, the stores. I only barely recognized some of them. I remembered a picture of downtown I’d seen in the library. This is exactly what it looked like. But that picture was from 1940. Everything looked like then. Had I slipped back in time? Was I 75 years in the past? That must be why people were looking at me, my clothes were from 2015, I must look awfully strange to everyone.

I walked over to a news stand. The local paper had today’s date, September 13, but it said 1940. I felt like jumping out of my skin. I felt like screaming. I felt like I was stark raving mad. I’d had anxiety before but never like this. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Even though it was chilly I was sweating. I tried to imagine how this possibly could have happened. The last thing I remember before turning up here was that…what? I couldn’t think. I had to sit down, try to relax. Try to think. I knew the library was just a block away. It was built during the 1930s so it was sure to be there. It was the same library where I’d looked at the photo of downtown in 1940. The year I was suddenly in.

I walked into the library and sat at a long table near the fiction section. It looked like the same table I’d recently sat at reading periodicals. But the table was new. Of course it was. There were no scratches on it. When had I been at the library? What was the last thing I could remember? I squeezed my fists and scrunched up my face as I tried to think. It was like I was putting physical effort into a mental process. I knew this wouldn’t do so I tried to relax and take some deep breaths. But not too deep, I didn’t want to hyperventilate. I walked over to the water fountain and took a few big gulps. People were still giving me long looks. I hoped it was just because of my clothes and not the way I was acting. I went back to the table and sat down. Maybe closing my eyes would help. I looked around first. I don’t know why. Then I closed my eyes….

I was standing downtown but everything seemed different. What had happened? I’d just been at the library when all of sudden I found myself standing here a block away and everything seemed suddenly strange. How am I in one place on second and another place the next second? This wasn't a dream, I was sure of it. There was very little I recognized. Buildings were different, peculiar looking. There were many more of them. And there are all these people, so many more than usual and they’re dressed in the strangest ways. Men have hair like women. There are a lot of negroes about and crazy people and the cars, my god the cars practically look like futuristic space ships. Some people look it at me kind of funny but I’m sure not the strangest looking person around. It’s like I’m in the future. And this future is very scary and its dirty and smells bad and I just wanted to scream. I saw a newspaper on the ground and picked it up. It had today’s date, September 13. But it said 2015. I wonder if I was suddenly somehow  75 years in the future or is the wildest most realistic feeling dream of all time? I felt panicked. I felt like crying or yelling for help. I headed toward the last place I remember being, the library. I wasn't sure if it would still be there. Thankfully it was and it looked much the same on the outside but I could tell by looking through the windows that it was very different within. I was sweating profusely. It was quite warm. The last I remember before appearing here it was a cool day. I walked by some young ladies who were practically just in their underwear. You’d think they were at the beach. Such short pants and blouses that barely cover them!

The library was laid out much the same as it was but there are strange machines that people are staring at. I walked to the tables near the fiction section, first taking a sip of water at the fountain. I noticed a picture of the wall that purported to show downtown in 1940. It looked exactly like the world I left, my world. I started shaking. What could I do? Who could I talk to? What was to become of me? What of everyone I knew? Many, most, would be dead in this year this unbelievably sounding time of 2015.

I sat at my usual spot. There was a gentleman sitting across from me. He looked strangely familiar….

I tried to relax tried to reason what to do when some guy sat across from me. He looked like, he looked like…me. I was staring, it seemed, into a mirror. But he was dressed appropriate to 1940….

I recognized the man I had sat across from. It was me. Or at least the mirror image. But he was dressed like the other people in 2015….

I reached across to touch him…

He reached towards me and I extended a hand toward him….

I’m exhausted. It was a very strange day. The strangest I can remember. That long hallucination or whatever it was that I came out of in the library has wiped me out. I pick up the remote and turn on the TV. The news is on with a story about the immigration crisis in Europe....

I’ve never felt so physically and emotionally empty. Whatever happened today has sapped me. I could barely make the walk home from the library when it ended. I turn on the radio. Maybe there’s news about the war in Europe.

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