What if someone (let’s say Pee Wee Herman, for kicks) told you that you could travel back to any time and place?
I pondered this question for a few minutes and toured just a few of the almost endless possibilities. I toyed with the idea of co-discovering fire (okay, the controlled use of fire), nudging Neil forward so he had but no choice to take a larger step on the moon, and taking a selfie at the Beatles’ last concert at Candlestick. Ultimately, my curiosity settled on a time and place that, on the surface, seemed elementary but, deep down, quickly emerged as more miraculous than all the other possibilities combined.
I’d go back to the day I was born. I’d visit my parents in the hospital to savor their exhausted happiness. From the corner of the room, I’d hide and return their cautiously optimistic smiles. I’d revel in the purity of the moment shared between two new parents, my parents – their excitement draped in relief, their eagerness wrought with immediate parental concern, their stomachs undoubtedly groaning with joy.
Confined to the sterility of a hospital room, submitted to nurture and subjected to nature, this is the time and place I’d want to see. I’d bring a notepad to capture their movements, dialogues (maybe not all of it), the sounds of their whispers, and the intertwining of their hands. I can only imagine the beauty of my parents on that day, even though I was technically there. I’d try to paint my mom and dad in the paradoxes of becoming new parents: electrified yet drained, resolute but – let’s be honest here – overwhelmed (there were two of us, after all). I’d jot down the statements that blurred into questions: Twins…? All ours…?
To see mom and dad, with their flushed faces on my very first day, their excitement and eagerness the very foundation of the person I am (and will be later on) is a pretty easy choice. Truth is, my twin brother and I arrived on the scene pretty late in the game. My parents had been through it, several times, novelty was certainly no longer a freshman. But my guess is it was still a special day, and as a son to two incredible parents, that’s the day that I’d tell Pee Wee to take me back in time to. And just maybe when I got there I’d speak up from the corner of the room, and I’d tell my parents that I’ve come from the future and that they have been the best that I could have ever asked for. And just maybe they’d say something back to me – something, in unison, in a high-pitched voice, like “I know you are but what am I?”
By the way, what does Pee Wee Herman have to do with any of this? Nothing. Zilch. I guess that I’m just a loner, Dottie. A rebel. Okay, I had a slight obsession as a kid.