June 11, 1980
I dressed up nice, and made sure that I shaved my face pristinely. No nicks, no spots of stubble. In the mirror I looked as childlike as I had in a long time. I put on a long sleeve button up shirt, white, with a solid blue tie, and khaki pants.
I drove to Reading, and drove by my grandparents house. I wanted to verify that there were no police, that I hadn’t spooked her. The coast appeared to be clear.
I rang the doorbell, and he answered. Again, she stood behind the screen door as she answered.
“Hi,” I said with a calm smile. My heart was beating out of my chest with both excitement and nerves, but I knew that if I seemed overly anxious it would only make her less comfortable.
“Ok, you guessed those two things, and I honestly cannot think of any other explanation, maybe divine inspiration.” She wasn’t combative, but was still cautious. “What I can’t figure out, is why you chose to contact me.”
I nodded. “I understand. This must be overwhelming.” I purposely gave the most kind sympathetic smile I could. “I’m from the future, and I’m your grandchild.”
A look of skepticism crossed her face. I expected that. The time-travel piece I knew would be difficult to believe with a stranger, but nearly impossible with a family member that hasn’t been born yet. To further compound the problem, most of my physical characteristics resemble my father, the comparisons to my mother are mostly vague, in the coloring of my skin, more than the shape of any facial features.
Also, accurate DNA testing won’t be available until 1983, and I’m not sure how accessible it will be to me in that time. There wasn’t anyway to prove to her that I was her grandson, so I had put all my hope into convincing her that I’m a time-traveler, and hoping the leap to grandson isn’t that large of one.
“My grandson?” She was trying to figure it out, and I was gave her all the time she needed.
“Maria’s son…” She looked shocked, here was a 26 year-old man, telling her he was the son of her 19 year-old daughter, I cannot imagine how her brain could process that information. Also, my mother is 5 feet tall, my grandfather is only about 5 feet, 6 inches tall. I, at an even 6 feet, must not at all fit what she would have imagined.
“I’m sorry, I know this doesn’t make sense to you.” I said trying to comfort her.
“Why are you coming to see me though? You asked me not to tell anyone, not even Carl. Why?”
“I can’t give you all the details, it would be really unfair of me, but unfortunately, I never got to meet you. So when I discovered I was going to be able to travel back in time, I hoped to meet you, and get to know you.” None of the confusion lifted from her face.
“Why haven’t we met?” Her voice was scared and hollow.
“You will pass away before I’m born.” I speak fast and don’t allow an opportunity to interrupt. “I can’t give you any information on when, all I feel comfortable sharing, is that I can’t stop it. It’s not an accident, or anything malicious, and I cannot stop it. If I could, I would try.”
“It’s cruel of you to tell me this much.” Her eyes stared at me, through a layer of tears, drilling a hole in me.
“I didn’t mean to be. You have years, but I want to get to know you, I want to try to help give you an idea of what you will miss.” My own voice cracked with guilt, and I had to swallow down the urge to let myself cry.
“What is your name?” she asks, her voice shakier than mine.
“Michael Christopher Cole.” It was strange to say my name out loud. I hadn’t said it since I left 2010, and I couldn’t remember the last time even back then.
“Can you come back tomorrow?”
“Yes. I only have a couple of hours in the morning, before I go to work. But please don’t tell anyone about this. I want to get to know you, and if you tell them, they’ll think I’m some kind of con-man. But, I promise, I will never ask you for anything. I don’t even mind if it has to be through the screen door every single time.”
She nodded. “How will I ever know you’re telling the truth?”
I shrug. “Honestly, I don’t know if you ever will. I ask you to consider two things, the first being if I’m never asking for money, what benefit do I receive? The second, when Maria brings home her boyfriend, a serious one, the one who is going to be her husband and my father, look into his eyes, and you will see he is my father.”
My father and I both have a fairly specific feature in our eyes, there is a golden ring around the pupil, it looks like a dull eclipse. I know that when she sees him, she will recognize the similarities. I opened my eyes wide for her to see.
“Will that be soon?” She asked nodding, and taking mental note.
“Yes. This year at some point. They never remembered the dates of that first year, so I’m just hoping that it hasn’t already past.” I say with a sheepish smile.
“Maria, isn’t dating anyone yet that I know of.”
“Ok good. I’m pretty sure he picks her up here for their first date.”
I can see all of the different information working its way around her head. All of it must seem unfathomable to her.
“I should be going. But have a nice day, and I will see you tomorrow.”
“Goodbye,” she says in a caring tone. A momentary lapse from the bombardment of seeming impossibilities.