Time Travel

To help with a recent surgery I have been taking a water aerobics class. I go on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I am the youngest, by a lot. Most of the people in the class know each other. Some go to a “senior stretch” class directly after. Some go to water aerobics Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as well. There is a different group who only go on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I like the class more than I thought I would. The water feels good. I like listening to the stories the ladies tell. I like seeing the way they tease each other. I like that no one ever talks about how busy or rushed they are. No one asks me why I’m there or what I do for a living. After class, Rose and I hang out in the sauna together.

Today, Zelda, who is normally a Monday, Wednesday, Friday person came to our class. Part way through the class Rich, the lone man in the class, asked her why she wasn’t singing like she does in the other class.

“This is a much quieter class,” Zelda said. “You know in school when you can’t go on the field trip and so they put you in another class for the day and it’s almost the same, but you aren’t quite sure what to do? That’s what this is like. I’m in another class today.” It struck me that this woman with a lifetime of experiences, drew on a memory from 70 years ago to explain how she felt.

They have been repaving our street this week. Sitting at my desk, with the windows open, I can smell the tar. I don’t even have to close my eyes to imagine that it is May and I am instead at a small wooden desk at Hawthorne Elementary where they tarred the roof every year just before school got out.

Summer is my favorite time of year. I like the heat. I like the endless days. I like the feeling that something new is just around the bend. Fall is melancholy for me. It’s a time of endings, a restriction, a settling in to new schedules. Most of the deaths I’ve experienced have happened in the Fall. I resist it wearing my flip flops as long as I can. But today I don’t feel so resistant. I am starting to believe that time travel is real. That we are all only one smell, one emotion away from our past and that our future is so close we can touch it.

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