John sat in the hospital’s visitors’ lounge. The doctor professed that Rose might not awaken from coma as the impact of the accident left her too weak. With a heavy heart, John regretted encouraging her to accede to the promotion which entailed her relocating to Hong Kong.
‘Till death do us part’. He replayed the promise they made the day she departed. Rose was his first and last love. She was beautiful inside and out, and had a smile that lit up the sky better than the sun for John. Her heart was of the purest gold. She was the one to pick him up on his worst days when everything else failed. They loved each other wholeheartedly and were to wed in the near future. ‘Till death do us part’. John went over those words again, tightening his upper lip and pushing ahead with hope clutched tightly as he makes his way back to Rose’s bedside.
The comatose patient and her beau, a sight the nurses had come to know and expect after John made his appearance daily, talking to their patient, telling her about his day and beckoning her to come back to this world, despite the weariness as she never responded. Desperately seeking an answer, John went home that night and tried looking up ways to communicate with comatose patients.
“Can comatose patients they hear us?”, “Can we talk to them in our dreams?” He read on and on but found no answers. It was nearing twilight. Just as he was about to relent, his cursor hovered over a link on his computer screen and catches his attention. “Patient miraculously recovers from coma: A time travelling miracle”. John clicks on the article with curiosity. The page opens up to a video of old lady with deep wrinkles and the brightest emerald eyes. Full of poise and grace, she spoke about ancient folklore, magic, and time travelling. John could not quite put his finger on it. Something about the tone in her voice gave him the comfort he needed.
Time travelling was a dangerous sport, without guarantee of returning to the present, possible memory loss, and in severe cases, death. Portals of time travel are dubious, unpredictable. Three clocks need to be synchronised which each other at midnight. The time traveller will have 24 hours to return to the portal or they’ll be stuck in that dimension forever.
John scratches his head in disbelief. “Is this a dream?” The old lady smiles and replies, “Dear John, do as I say and all will be good”. The old lady disappears and a map appears on screen, showing directions to an old abandoned house in the woods. Still dazed and confused, John follows her request, he knew that Rose’s condition was deteriorating day by day. John reached the abandoned house and decided he had nothing to lose, getting to work as he set the the clocks on the floor. He felt an overwhelming sensation of discomfort and oppression all of a sudden. Everything looked unnatural and out of this world. John was traveling through time.
He jolted awake and froze. “Today’s date… Today’s date…” It was 4th October 2015, the day Rose left for Hong Kong, 10 days before the accident. In a heartbeat, John was out of the house and in his car racing to the airport. Every traffic light took an eternity to pass, the minutes lapsing as quick as seconds. All the while his desperate attempts at getting a hold of Rose’s mobile were to no avail as he met with her voicemail try after try. He could only hope that by luck of ill fate her flight had been delayed.
Bursting through the doors of the departure hall, John was swashed by a sea of airport-goers, tourists and business men, pilots and air stewards alike. Everyone had a time and a place to be. Pulling out of the memory he knew so well the gate number they said their goodbyes at two months ago, he sprinted like life depended on it. Slowly the uneasiness he bore in his stomach quelled as he picked apart from the crowd the coat he gifted to Rose before she left. Rose’s petite frame was soon enveloped by John as he tightly embraced her. He was right where he was meant to be. Stepping back to behold his love, he was met by a look of puzzlement on her kind face. “I’m sorry but… do I know you?” Just as slowly as it left, the queasiness slithered back till it was reinstalled in his stomach. She doesn’t know him. Not a speck of recognition.
Ten days till the accident…