I might have come across a bit crazy.
It occurs to me that I might have been well-advised to have just waited. Maybe not approached you and the kids while you were picking out your Christmas tree. Maybe not told you all of it right then.
Maybe not told you all of it at all. Ever.
And my speech might have been a bit… erratic, from too much allergy medication and those steroids they prescribe for the rash I get on my elbow, and you know how too much medication makes me talk in constant run-on sentences, and talking in constant run-on sentences might make anyone come across a bit crazy, right?
I also might have smelled like rancid meat. This was not my fault. I might tell you that story one day, too, but I didn’t on the day at the Christmas tree lot, and as it turns out, it was, you know, probably just as well.
You might think I looked like I was stalking you, kind of hiding like I was behind that tree. Watching you and the kids from across the lot. But I was not stalking you, and actually I was hiding because I didn’t want it to appear as though I were.
Maybe that plan kind of blew up in my face. I don’t know. Maybe you tell me.
Everything I remember about that day is dark green and grey.
But I do know it had to have been you who asked me. You must have asked me, “What’s been going on, Katy?” You asked me, and so I told you.
Maybe I just should have said, “Not much, Dana.”
Maybe that was the kind of answer you were looking for. But “Not much, Dana” would not have been the truth, and so I told you the truth, and the truth involved you… kind of.
I told you the truth about Tarab. Now, Tarab is the panic-induced hallucination who comes in the night to crush the air from my lungs during bouts of sleep paralysis. And no, I did not have bouts of sleep paralysis back when I was with you, but that was because I was drunk and on drugs back when I was with you, and now I am not drunk or on drugs.
Well, I mean, yes, I was on drugs the day at the Christmas tree lot, when I was telling you this, but that’s different.
I told you what Tarab told me. I told you he told me I’m a maniac. Or, rather, in some possible future, I am like a Hitler or I am like a Pol Pot or I am like a Billy Ray Cyrus. I am so bad that people take notice, and they send signals back in time or somehow alter the past to prevent me from ever becoming this… this… this maniac that I might become.
I told you Tarab told me that they’re the ones who introduced us. Introduced you and me. Back in 2004, Dana. We did not know each other the first time through, but they brought you in when things got changed.
To domesticate me.
I am living the wrong life, Dana, is what I told you. They derailed my real life to prevent me from living a real future that I’ll never live now.
So you might think that sounded crazy, that day at the Christmas tree lot, and I might even have agreed it sounded crazy – what Tarab said – but the thing is, what he said makes a lot of sense. What he said explains so damn much about everything that has happened since 2004.
Maybe Tarab will tell me more. Maybe I can find proof of all he’s saying – mistakes in the fabric of this fake life I am living.
I might have said too much, but you did ask.
And maybe – probably! – if I had not told you all of that, at the Christmas tree lot when I saw you that day, then Rachel never would have snapped this photograph of our happy surprise reunion.
And what a poorer parallel future that might have been, not to have ever included this photograph: