how small we are

Normal days and odd days #stories

Have you ever wondered whether there is a greater “system” that governs the rules of the universe? A cosmic machine that makes sure the everything’s in place and the checks and balances are perfectly compensating for one another.

For every birth, there has to be a death. For every good time, there must be a bad. For every normal day, there has to be, I mean, there has to be an odd day. I reckon there has to be a reason why good things happen to some people, while bad things happen to another.

That day started just like any other, apart from the fact that it was my birthday. We had planned for some cosy family time doing what we like, a simple dinner and the customary cake to end off the night.

I had a tooth problem nagging me for weeks, so I booked a dental appointment first thing in the morning to have it checked out. I dread dentist visits so much, and coupled with anxiety, I just prayed it was a zoom-in, zoom-out sort of affair.

As I sat down in the dentist chair and told him my suspicion that “it was just a missing filling”, he took a look and suggested getting an x-ray done. So we did that and understandably the universe decided to throw in a few pebbles to create ripples in the calm day that I had planned. My tooth split.

Not wanting to leave with a bloodied mouth, I left with the uncertainty of what’s to happen with that ruined tooth because I needed to get on with the day’s plans. Dark cloud #1.

As I settled down in the train, a little drained from the harrowing visit, I wondered why there were more unexpected issues this year than before. Could it have to do that it’s an odd year (both calendarial and age-wise), or did I not do sufficient good deeds? I think too much.

Couple of stops down the line, and 17 minutes into “Terrace House”, I looked up from my phone to rest my eyes to see this:

He was almost an exact mirror of what I was doing. We had almost the same figure, same kind of outfit, taste in timepiece, even the way we placed out backpack in our laps. His hair was like mine, except far more advanced. I looked at his face and I could see a hint of my late Dad.

This can’t be one of those movie clichés where someone meets with his future self and the entire space-time continuum is disrupted which leads to the destruction of this timeline, another abrupt end to the massive multi-verse MMORPG we call “our reality”?

What if he was me? What if I am to become him? It was a glimpse into the future of me? What sagely advice did he have for me? Or what horrifying end will I be experiencing, so horrific that he had to send someone from another timeline to come warn me (assuming #4 me witnessed #3 me dying a horrific death and sent #2 me to come back in time to warn me of that end)?

Or was he just coming to tell me what to do with my tooth?

I just watched him for a little. Tweeted about his existence. So I don’t get obese in the end. That’s reassuring. I will get a non-ceramic Submariner. That’s sweet. I’ll still be wearing my old H&M grey v-neck t-shirt. Gotta throw that out when I get home.

Could he really have something to tell me? Wait a minute. Could I really have something to tell me?

What if I had a message for myself, laden with 20 years worth of experience. That thought weighed down heavy.

What would 57 year old me have said to me in hindsight?

  1. I turned out alright.
  2. Embrace the grey hair.
  3. It’s ok to be alone sometimes.
  4. It’s ok to be lost in thought sometimes, but take time outs from your head.
  5. Be comfortable with your own skin.
  6. I’ll have enough. Not too much or lacking. Just live simply.
  7. iPhones will still be around. Buy some AAPL shares.
  8. Cars will be so expensive, so it’s ok to take the train after all.
  9. V-necks will make a comeback. Have second thoughts about throwing it out.
  10. Don’t worry about the end. It’ll just be what it is – the end.

We stood up at the same station to alight. He was slightly shorter than I am. Guess I will shrink in old age.

We walked out of the train at the same time, I turned left while he turned right.

Maybe he’s just come back to see his childhood home one last time.