You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice: the ability to speak and understand any language, the ability to travel through time, or the ability to make any two people agree with each other.
Good to be back. No need for formalities; I know my way around here like the back of my hand…
This is 1945. It was April. Things were more or less set in stone. I knew how the day would proceed. The women were finding ways to slip back into their houses, praying that the men would be home in the months to come. Others knew that it was a time for payback. Soldiers decided on the order to shoot; victims plotted to avenge their loss. The place was in disarray. I watched as a General pushed a kid out of harm’s way, and in split-second, he had picked up the child and her pet. The General mumbled about how rare it was for them to not have killed an animal for food in such times. The child would live to grow up.
1980s. The General, yes, that same General, was in harm’s way. Someone was tailing him, awaiting the opportunity to put the needle into his nape. He seemed suspicious, yet lacking in vigilance, knowing that the war has ended decades ago. Oh, how the General has aged. A commotion rang through the streets behind him – an animal had gone wild in town, and was running into all the stores to wreak havoc! Startled, the follower abandoned his plans. The General saw the man slip away, and looked at the animal. How very familiar, this chubby creature that came waddling towards him.
2010s. There was a tribute made to the General, as one of the heroes of war. They didn’t talk about the story of him saving the child or her pet. They hadn’t mention his close shave in the town. I looked at the photo by the fireplace. We found a strangely-tame boar by our backyard twenty years ago, and Mother had adopted him, saying that it looked just like her childhood pet. We took a photo of that occasion for fear that one day the story would be lost, like all others…
But I knew I could revisit all of them as long as I headed back in time.
You get some incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news. What’s the first thing you do?
I looked at my phone. Who shall I write to now?
Maybe, maybe her.
Oh, right. She no longer uses that number.
I scrolled down the “Friends List”, flicked through the “Favourites” tab, and still found nobody to share this news with.
Maybe, maybe her.
Oh, right. She no longer has a phone.
Everyone around me was cheering with euphoria. I nodded and shook hands with them like I was expected to. I felt a need to tell someone how I felt – not just shout and holler.
Maybe, maybe her.
Oh, right. She is no longer around.
They say, when there is a will, there is a way. For how else would I have had this achievement?
I figured they were right.
I shall go home to say a prayer by the window tonight.
Right. This time she shall hear me even from the Heavens above.
Explain your biggest regret — as though to a small child.
Dear child, for each time you whine, “I want to play!” – know that you have put yourself before others who would one day not be able to spend another second with you.
Dear child, for each time you throw a tantrum, “But I’m tired!” – know that life has merely started for you and there is simply no way you could even comprehend the meaning of “tired”.
Dear child, for each time you think, “I can do that tomorrow” – know that you may have a tomorrow, but not everyone else.
Dear child, we have all grown up too late. If I had learnt sooner, I would have been different. Now, since you know, I pray you shall not have to repeat these lines to someone else another day.
…for tomorrow we die. The world is ending tomorrow! Tell us about your last dinner – the food, your dining companion, the setting, the conversation.
“They say the world shall end when the sun rises tomorrow.
Finally. It’s been too long.”
The moon looked just like we used to see it. Buildings have sprouted from the ground, blocking some of the view that we used to enjoy. Such is life; everything changes beyond your expectations.
“The wine’s gotta go. The water crackers and cheese too.
I should have brought some other snacks that would suit your tastes too.
How careless of me, still. Even when the world is going to end.”
The winds rattled the railings of the palace-house’s balcony; atop a hill, the world was silent – so quiet, so tranquil. Sipping the wine, I felt the crisp air of the night kiss my face. It was cold, like invisible frost.
I took my seat, wondering how it shall come to an end, sleep creeping up on me as I settle into the steel-framed sling-back chair.
“I guess it’s time. If I fall asleep and miss it, at least I know that this time the dream shall become a reality. I’ll be there, with you, soon.” I whispered at the photo, capturing the last moment we had together, tightly in my chest; and for the first time in years, let out a smile.