“Alright, who’s next?”
“You tell me. These excursions are plotted, based on your subconscious desires to chew the ‘greener grass’ of yesteryear. I only facilitate the trips down memory lane. It is up to you to decide with whom.”
“It’s ‘who’ dude. Not ‘whom’.”
“Are you sure Jack? I thought the rule was…”
“No one can keep up with those damn grammar rules. Just use ‘who’ all the time, and you’ll do just fine.” The guide raised one eyebrow to convey a bemused expression. “I suppose Lynda does occupy a good deal of my curiosity and past speculation. She was perhaps my first love and will always hold a special place in my heart. Occasionally I have pangs of ‘what if’ about her.”
“Yes, she figures pretty heavily in your relationship nostalgia. I wasn’t sure if you were aware of how much she occupied your thoughts. The subconscious can mask it’s true intentions and desires. We will visit Lynda now. The intersection of where you visit her is right after you first met.”
“Wait, I don’t get to pick the point I’d like to rejoin the relationship with her? Lynda and I made huge strides of understanding near the end but just couldn’t overcome a few minor obstacles, as I recall. I’ll have to work though all those preliminary issues again if my connection with her is rolled back to how it was we first met.”
“Sorry. There is a format to these things. There are specific entry points where a passenger can embark and depart. Those points do not often fall within convenient or preferred areas. This is the best place for your renewal because you have the benefit of knowing how you overcame the early stumbling blocks you had. With that insider knowledge, you can fast forward to the height of the relationship in record time.”
Jack started to protest all the extra relationship work but the guide shot him a very stern look. “This is your only opportunity with Lynda. There is no other. Either embrace the second chance or forever wonder what might have been. Because you are starting at an earlier stage of development, I will grant you three weeks with her. That should be more than enough time to satisfy your curiosity. Until then.”
Lynda appeared just as he remembered her from that day but then a very strange thing happened. The events he knew so well, failed to transpire. It seemed that he was destined to live out a completely original timeline, instead of relive the one he already knew. That meant that he wasn’t even guaranteed a relationship with her. He would have to work hard to win her heart over, all over again. This time without the benefit of memory to guide him. The only advantage he had was that he knew her likes and dislikes. He could predict how she would react, based on his previous memories. With any luck, Lynda would at least be consistent in that. As she walked toward to the snack machine, he cleverly dropped in some change and bought the candy bar that she liked.
“Wow. I had no idea anyone else likes Payday candy bars besides me. I was beginning to think they only stocked them for my benefit.”
Jack feigned surprise. “Really? Nah. It’s been a favorite of mine for a long time. I like to dip mine in a Coke and watch the peanuts in the candy sizzle in the carbonation. It tastes amazing.”
This time it was Lynda’s chance to be surprised. “That is soooo random! I do that too! Where did you get the idea?”
Jack explained to her that it was a popular thing to do in the South to put peanuts in your Coca Cola and that using a Payday was just a natural extension of that since they were covered in peanuts. Lynda was mildly amused by such a considerable coincidence but that was hardly reason to fall in love with him. He would have to apply a clever strategy to lure her into dating him. With her, persistence was a big no-no. She reacted negatively in the strongest possible terms to pressure. He had to make her think dating him would be her idea.
Over the next couple days, he laid down a tantalizing trail of bread crumbs and she eventually took the bait. Knowing her turn-offs and hot button issues, he was able to rapidly expedite their relationship but cracks began to form pretty early in the budding love affair. She was ‘high maintenance’ intellectually. While the path they were paving was completely new, her thought process was as predictable as it was exhausting. Lynda simply took care of Lynda. He and everyone else came in a distant second. Once the thrill of the chase had worn off, he was left with a self-centered girlfriend who was stuck in her ways and unwilling to share control of the relationship. Soon he came to remember why he walked away the first time. There wasn’t room in Lynda’s life for anyone but her. Long before the three weeks were up, he had already walked away from her again.