Back in Time

On June 23, 2009 by Aimee

I submitted this to a contest via Writer’s Digest. Just something small. I kinda like it. :) The prompt was this:
A woman is given the ability to go back in time and change one event in her life.

Back in Time
“Seven hundred dollars for shoes? Haleigh? Seriously? Are you nuts?” Papers shuffled as Chelle rifled through the mounds of account statements, bills and receipts.

“They are sweet shoes!” Haleigh’s hands lay on the table as if the mention of expensive shoes was nothing more than standard fare between the two of them. The red, alligator skin pumps had been on the mannequin next to the really hot guy in New York. How anyone could pass them up was beyond her. She’d indulged in the lingerie too, just in case. Chelle hadn’t gotten to that receipt, yet.

She looked at the growing pile of paper between the two of them.

She rubbed the button in her hand. Unlike Staple’s easy button, it could be used only one time. Once pressed, there were no second chances.

As she began to push, she wondered if it was really the right time. Her thumb slipped as nerves shook her arm. The exact outcome would be uncertain. She worked to control the anxiety as she felt the steel ridge level with the ruby colored jewel.

Years raced backward before her eyes as memories surfaced with each of Chelle’s unanswered questions.

“Why do you need a cotton candy machine?”

She’d stood at the mirror and stuck out her tongue. It had been blue from a Dum-Dum of the same flavor.

“Do you need recycled toilet tissue? Can’t you buy Charmin or something normal?”

Her daughter’s reflection in the door announced her win at the science fair. Growing herbs in recycled paper was possible.

“Yellow stickies are cheaper.”

A rainbow of color papered the wall. Ten thousand colored sticky notes had been art and temporary wall paper.

Chelle moved the marble paperweight to another stack.

The trip to South America had a dual purpose; visit Kevin’s friends and show off Caitlyn. She’d learned how to walk on that trip and how to win back the graces of three hundred passengers with one well timed giggle.
“Why do you buy a new bedspread every year?”

A smile ripped through the memory. Married just two months, they’d found ways to keep warm without the use of the apartment heater.

“Do you still donate to your Alumni association?”

A hi-hello-how-are-you conversation as Kevin jumped down the stairs to get her attention. She’d been walking to class and he tripped over his own foot. She’d thought he was fine only to spend the day in the ER with him as his broken leg was set.

“How many books to you read in a week?”

She saw the guy at the table outside the bookstore during her first year of college. Seriously hot guy. Dark, short hair, muscles rippled under his too-tight t-shirt. Solid black sunglasses covered his eyes as bright sunlight beat down. No shade for relief.

She walked by only to turn when he called.

“Hey hot stuff!”

Curious, Haleigh turned in a circled to see who he was calling.

“Yes, you gorgeous. C’mere.” He motioned with his hands.

She walked over, the silver and red of the can she carried glinted in the sun.

“I gotta get out of this heat. Give me your John Hancock and I’ll be done with my quota. Maybe we could grab a drink.” He held out the application for her.

She looked at him quizzically. She was only eighteen and didn’t need a credit card. Did she?

“Awe, c’mon. You want to help me out, right?”

Of course she did. Besides, he’d asked her out.

“I’ll give you two of these two-liters if you sign up, too. ”

The button appeared in her hand at that moment and Haleigh knew she’d been right.

“Sorry, I only drink water.” She gave her full can to him, smiled and walked away.

“Haleigh? Off in space? Hello?” Chelle waved her hands.

She snapped back to reality with a quick nod and smile. “Sorry. Lost in thought.”

Had it happened?

She still sat, at her kitchen table, a glass of water in her hand.

Her best friend and accountant, Chelle, continued to sit across from her shuffling papers.

Her children were still outside playing. She heard them through the open windows.

Chelle patted a pile with her hand. “My audit’s done! Finished! You’re set. Thriving business. Happily married. Two kids. Big house. No debt. Wow.”

She leaned forward and looked deep into Haleigh’s eyes. “It still amazes me that you did it all without a credit card.”

Haleigh smiled.

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