The following text, hand-written in its original form, was found in the summer of 2003, in a sealed envelope, glued on the back-cover’s inside of an old book (edition of 1965). The book was recently purchased from a private library that was being cleared after the owner’s death. It was not possible to determine the original, or any possible intermediate owners.
Dear reader, you are reading these lines after I have left this world, and possibly even before I was born.
My life began on 2004, it doesn’t matter where. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that my life was quite different from the life of ordinary people. I lived my days in a world very unlike the one the other people lived in, and very often I was wondering whether I was sane or not, even questioning that I ever existed.
They say that time is a river that flows and drags you along, and you are never able to swim against the current. But for me the flow of time was moving backwards.
Ever since I was a child, I was a lonely person. Later I realized it couldn’t have been otherwise. I never made friends during my childhood. When I was growing up a year they became a year younger, until they ceased appearing in the neighborhood. They were too young to play with me. In school, I had different classmates each year, since those of the previous year attended a class one grade below mine. Don’t imagine that I was walking backwards, or that I was watching every move from the end to the beginning. No, my life was normal, I was living every day as any other person, but in every morning my new day was, in terms of date, the previous one for everybody else. Time was flowing backwards for me, but no-one seemed to notice it. Their behavior was as if everything was ok.
I understand that you may have lots of questions, I hope some of them will be answered if you continue reading.
When I first issued an identity card, the birth date on it was 2004. It was in 1997, and yet not then, not in the “following” years, nobody seemed to find it strange.
I never had any brothers or sisters, maybe they were born later, who knows. My first recorded memory was when I was around 3 years old. It was not something specific, just the vague, as from a dream, domestic images that are usually a person’s first imprinted memory. I still remember, vaguely though, the tragic pictures from …, but no dear reader, I shouldn’t tell you, I do not know the date in which you are reading my story, and I do not have the right to upset you with something that may be a memory for me but perhaps hasn’t happened yet for you.
Many years latter I reached the conclusion that during the initial 4-5 years of my life, everything was normal. Time was moving to the right direction. Then, for some mysterious and unexplained reason I went back to 2004 and never stopped living backwards in time. So I spent around 8 years living to 2008 and then going back to 2004.
At home, my parents didn’t seem to notice that while I was growing up they became younger. Maybe their eyes were watching another reality. I was around 9 years old when I first tried to tell them that something was wrong with my life. I still remember their confused eyes and my mother’s effort to explain to me that I was just tired and a good-night’s sleep would fix everything. The next morning I overheard their conversation on whether they should take me to aa “expert”. They were both very concerned and I suppose that even before I expressed my worried they must have seen some signs of strange behavior, since my immature brain was trying to cope with a situation completely incompatible to the most basic of instincts. They were good people my parents, and in the following years they did everything they could to “cure” me. They took me to a lot of “experts”, and all of them reached the conclusion that I was a child feeling alone, and I should make more friends and spent time with them. Some wanted to keep me for monitoring, something to which my parents always objected.
As I was growing up I stopped expressing my feelings and worries and tried to act normal. Maybe it was because I had enough with the experts, maybe because I didn’t want to see my parents troubled, or maybe in an effort to convince myself that everything was ok.
I was, in absolute numbers, 18 years old, when I saw my parents celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary. They seemed to consider it normal, although I was only 5 years younger than my mother. That evening I took my decision. The family in which I grew up would soon cease to exist, or wouldn’t have been created yet, you pick the right expression. I didn’t want to find out what would happen to me, what status I would have in my parents’ lives.
The next day I told them that I was leaving home. I said I wanted to travel for sometime and then decide what I was going to do with my future. They seemed to be expecting it, they did not have any objections. Two days later I said good-bye, I knew I was never coming back, and I think they knew it also. They were two young people, but their eyes were old and sad, the eyes of two parents seeing their son for the last time.
During my first months away from home I called them, and then I switched to cards and brief letters. One year later, on the date of their wedding, I sent them both some flowers. I didn’t dare to call or write to them ever again.
Fifteen years later I returned to the city I was born and an impulse lead me near the house that my father grew up in. I remember that day as if it was today. It was a shining morning, I was standing in a small park right across the door of the house. The door opened and a brown-blond haired boy, around 10 years old, flashed out, holding a school bag, laughing and cheering. I couldn’t be mistaken, it was like looking at a picture of me at that age. He crossed the road and when he saw me he stopped and turned to me. He approached me slowly, hesitating at first, then his hand reached for mine. “Are you ok?”, he asked. “I am fine, and you?”, I replied. “Take care” he told me and his eyes met mine, sweet and innocent as the child’s he was, but, at the same time caring and protective as the father’s he was to be. “I have to go now” he said, and went on his way. That day I cried as I never cried in my life. I cried for the child I once was and for the things he never lived, I cried for my parents that I lost in a way far more frightening than death, I cried for my meaningless life.
I spent my years traveling, studying time and its mysteries. I always kept trying to find a meaning, some explanation to what was happening to me. Financially, I never had any problems. You see, having lived the future has some advantages. The history books, the newspapers, the past of the world I was living in as an uninvited visitor, was my future.
I know what you are thinking, whether I tried to change situations, to affect incidents. At the beginning I believed that some supreme force, might have given my life this course, and alter, through me, the outcome of various situations. An accident, someone’s personal tragedy, or even an incident of international proportions could be guided to a better outcome. The thought was comforting to me, maybe my life had a meaning after all. Soon I realized that my hope was futile, I could not alter the course of events. At that crucial moment I was about to act, some unrecorded detail of minor importance, would not let me change the result.
The past is a solid chain, forged by the joys and sorrows of the peoples that lived through it. No action, in the three-dimensional world can break that chain. I ‘ve read many books, scientific, fictional, about time traveling, about the time paradox, how a time traveler can go back to the past and do things that could cancel his own existence. I know, first hand, that this paradox cannot occur. The past is carved in some cosmic bible made of stone and cannot be changed. I ‘ve spent my life living in your past, in the past of the world I was born in, but the only thing I could rule was my life and maybe not even that.
I studied time, as a philosophical concept, from its scientific aspect, as an everyday reality. Those who claim that time is just another dimension, are completely wrong. The human mind can not really conceive the fundamental nature of time, as it cannot really understand the infinite values. We deal with time by artificially imaging it on a clock or a calendar, in order to produce an objective reality.
You cannot define time, you can only feel it passing, like a continuous movement between today and tomorrow, “now” being the only conceivable reality. All our live is nothing but a sequence of infinite “nows”, the one that already “happened” and those to come. Herakleitous said, “you can not put your foot in the same river twice, since the water keeps flowing”. But even “now” cannot be independently defined. Every person’s “now” is defined in a completely different way.
Perhaps time is more related to the soul and to the conscience and not always space, as modern physics claim. The feeling of time is not always the same. Sometimes it passes away faster and other more slowly, or at least that’s what our brain understands, depending on the events that are taking place. The function of memory recalling is a purely spiritual function, but still it is a time-travel, even if the subject does not physically move in time.
The past includes, besides what has happened, all the things that could have happened but for some reason never did. On the other hand, the future is consisted by a number of possible and probable actions and situations. Who or what chooses which one of those situations will take place and thus become, at some point, the present? Destiny or coincidences, predefined course of events or random choices, what force governs our future? Which was the mysterious force that embedded my future into the past of the world?
Many times I moved back and forth, between sanity and insanity, I wondered whether I was living in a nightmare soon to be over. In our dreams time works in another level. Its continuity is often reversed, and irregular leaps, back and forth, occur. I believe that some unknown psychic function disturbed the equilibrium between the conscious and the dream state of my brain, and did not allow me to recover from one of those leaps. I would be just another mentally ill person if only that disturbance didn’t drag along my tri-dimensional existence. My space and time were bent in such a way and extent that caused a complete reversal.
I wonder if that reversal caused a void in the future I should have lived in. On 2008, if my estimation is correct, I died, I simply stopped existing? Or another “me” lived, will live, a normal life? Was the curve of my time bisected, with one of the resulting branches moving to a completely wrong direction, along with a fully functional copy of my physical being? Maybe the people I was interacting with were seeing only reflections from the future.
And my physical death, what exactly will it mean? Is it going to be merely the end of a vagrant life, or will it bring together the separated pieces of me, restoring my life to its proper path?
I am sure that you are wondering if this story and these thoughts are just the products of a deranged mind, living in a reality that was self-created. In simple words you are probably thinking that I am just a crazy fool. I can’t judge you for that thought, nor will I try to convince you otherwise. It is not possible in a few lines of words to mirror what I experienced in a life so strange and meaningless.
As for my identity, are you sure you want to know? Maybe I am someone you know or someone you will meet, maybe I am your unborn child, or maybe I am yourself. But if you are not afraid to search and face a truth that might disturb you, I will give you a riddle to solve:
“Seek the stone with no beginning, in the fortress, near the straits with the laurel of Apollo”
I leave this written evidence as the sole proof of my unnatural existence and my forced travel in time. I do not know if and when it will be found and read, or by whom. But if someone decides to follow the riddle and find out my identity, I would like him to try and locate me in the future. And when, in the proper flow of time, I am a grown adult, I would like to be the recipient of this letter. In this way, maybe I can help myself appreciate the value of life and time.
This strange letter could be interpreted in many ways. It could be just an ambitious writer and maybe with some improvements and alterations it could even be considered an interesting attempt. It could be some kind of a joke or a fake chain letter. It could be a thesis on time, written in an unusual way. Finally it could actually be just the delirium of a “mentally deranged person”, quoting the writer himself.
But, could it be true? The answer, positive or negative, should not be given without consideration. Lets all reflect on what we know about time, the laws that time is ruled by and its relation with the soul. Time is the most precious commodity and one of the greatest unknowns. Could it be that it isn’t time that passes, but the people that are moving through it, just like they move in space?