Time travel stories are tricky. As this story by Nathaniel Lee demonstrates, they’re tricky even when you sort out all the potential paradoxes.
I wondered about the bacon all day. Eventually I went and bought the package anyway, put it in the fridge. I want to do right by you, Frankie, even if I’m crazy and it means I’m wasting five bucks. I don’t want you to have cooked imaginary bacon.
Grilled Cheese, Turkey, and Tomato Sandwiches on Sourdough
That was when I was sure of it. The tomatoes had been in the fruit bowl for a week already and you kept saying we had to do something with them before they went bad.
(They were okay, Frankie. You didn’t need to worry. Maybe a little squishy, but that could have been the whole pan-frying thing.)
Anyway, the point is, the sandwiches were there, butter-hot and smelling like purified joy, but so were the tomatoes, still in their bowl. It wasn’t the right day for pan-frying anyway. You only make sandwiches on your day off, when I’ll be up by afternoon and we can have a little time together before my next shift, because they’re no good once you let them get cold.
(Except they are good, Frankie, I don’t tell you that enough. Even if they were frozen they’d be good.)
So that was that. Today wasn’t your day off, so they weren’t today’s sandwiches.
They were tomorrow’s.
Beef Stroganoff, Same as Yesterday
I kind of enjoyed having tomorrow’s food. It felt special. It was like having a window on you when you didn’t know I was looking. I think about you a lot, Frankie, even if I’m quiet when we’re together. I like to know what you’re thinking about. Mostly I feel like I don’t. That’s why I’ll take whatever advantage I can get.
You never seemed to notice, Frankie. I’m not sure why. You ate those meals, too.
(Well, obviously the stroganoff, but honestly, why did you make so much of it? I swear that week lasted a year.)
Maybe you did, but you ate them at the right time, with the right version of me responding to your actual notes and e-mails and not whatever you’d said the day before or what I thought you might say tomorrow. A lot of times I feel like I’m talking to you a day late anyway, even when we manage to get into the same room at the same time. (I try, Frankie, I really do, but I’m always so tired and half the time I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I’m not good at techie stuff. You just kind of assume I’m keeping up with you.)
Maybe it wasn’t the skillet that was out of synch. Maybe it was us.