Driving Through Time

By Christian Laforet

Grant hammered the gas pedal. Thankfully, there wasn’t much traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway heading towards Manitoba. The broken yellow line stretched out in front of him like an endless snake—a beast with no head. Aware of the cell phone sitting on the passenger seat, every few seconds he would tap the screen with his finger. The time appeared in bold—7:46 p.m., EST. That was not set in stone though. Soon he would pass into the Central Standard Time Zone and the numbers on his phone would flip back exactly one hour.

The sweat, breaking out along his forehead for the last thirty minutes, felt cold and abrasive on his skin. He wiped it away with his sleeve, but knew it would come back.

Flying past a sign announcing the upcoming border, Grant reminisced again about what his Grandpa told him when he was a kid.

***

“It was just after I joined the army,” the old man said, as he rocked in the worn, wooden chair.

Grant sat transfixed before him, knowing another interesting story lay ahead.

“They stuck me on a plane to B.C. I remember leaving at noon, and yet when I got there, it was only 11 a.m. The guys I travelled with had a good laugh when I scrambled for a phone and attempted to call myself at the airport in Toronto…but guess what?”

“What, Grandpa?”

“I was still there! I talked to myself for a good ten minutes before the me in Ontario had to board the plane I just got off!

Grant crinkled his nose at that. “Grandpa, you didn’t actually travel through time. You were in a different time zone.”

The old man leaned forward, his slippered feet planted firmly on the floor. “Well, I know that now, but I had never heard of a time zone back then, and that’s exactly why it worked! I thought I had traveled through time. I believed it with all my heart and soul, and sometimes, that’s all it takes to make something real.”

***

Grant never bought into his Grandpa’s tale. Even as a child he dismissed it as being too silly, too outrageous to be true. Now, however, he repeated the story, line for line, in his head. What if it did happen? What if want and desire were enough to defy something as concrete as time?

Tears blurred his vision as his thoughts switched from his Grandpa sitting in that chair so long ago to a moment a lot closer to the present—to what he had left behind. Coming home from work, Grant had taken side streets to avoid construction. The little girl, chasing a ball from between parked cars, appeared in his line of sight for less than a second. Before he could react, his tires jumped. Even now, he imagined strands of her golden hair were stuck to his bumper.

Looking at his phone again, the moment he had been waiting for arrived. The numbers flipped to Central time. Heart pounding, Grant lifted his cell as he directed his car onto the shoulder of the road. His Grandpa’s words echoing through his mind, I believed it with all my heart and soul, and sometimes, that’s all it takes to make something real. Eyes squeezed tight, he said a prayer to anybody who would listen, and then dialed his own number. Maybe, just maybe, he could tell himself to take a different way home.

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