If I Could Turn Back Time

...that's right, i dropped a Cher bomb...this is actually one of the hundred or so songs that i know by heart--excluding, of course, all of the 1980's television show theme songs...and it's the song i had on my mind when i purchased a keychain that's a replica of hermione's time turner necklace in the HP movies...i love that little piece...not only because it's gold and shiny and has a miniature hourglass in the center...it represents the idea of going back in time...i'd love to see what my hair looks like from the back...

...i've long been interested in the idea of turning time back on itself...i think most people who've been damaged in childhood, or who've lost people they loved, have fantasies about going back and doing something differently...i would have said..., i would have acted..., i would have done...

...but then i think, "would i really go back in time if i could? how far back would i go? what would be erased? created? forgotten?...would i end up in some alternate reality where completely incompetent 40-somethings are in charge, and Biff owns a casino?...

...i wouldn't want to relive my 20's--i'm lucky i made it out of them alive the first time...forget about my teens--the repression, fear, idiocy...and my 30's have been a crap-shoot on the happiness scale, i wouldn't want to stack the deck by moving time--it would probably come back (go forward?) and bite me in the butt...

...there's a pretty long list of crappy things that've happened to me or people i love over the last few years...i could turn back time and talk to Grandpa before he died...could brace myself for the backstabbing i've faced...i could go even farther back and erase friendships, marriages, births, relationships...but why stop there?...why not pinpoint the hour, exactly, that i last saw Grandma?...or my father? what would going back in time solve there?...could my seven-year-old self say something remarkable that would alter his behavior? no.

...of course there are some advantages to going back in time--the lottery numbers, test questions, the bus i missed and, because of that, i didn't make the premier of Forrest Gump when the rest of my friends did (and have pictures of themselves with Tom Hanks to prove it)...

...the fact is, i wouldn't turn time around, even with the knowledge i have now, because i know that would, somehow, cosmically ruin the path my life has taken...then whose life would it be?...who would i be now if i altered my past?...i wouldn't be me...and while i'm not my biggest fan, and it's hard to look in the mirror and admit the mistakes i've made, i know i'm a person of conviction, who's ethical, truthful, and (most of the time) respected...i wouldn't chance my future on screwing with my past...

...over the last week, though, because i've been working on editing the VOX tribute to Barry Hannah, i've been thinking a lot about my happy years in Oxford, MS...and the reality of his death has finally come home...and with it, the guilt that i haven't yet finished my first book, haven't sold it, haven't done justice to the degree Barry bestowed on me nine years ago...

...time to take time by the balls...show up...do the work...

...these two pictures were taken on september 25, 2003 in a booth in a bar in Oxford...i'd just graduated in may, but was teaching for a year at Ole Miss...Barry had started drinking a little...he had hair again...we'd all met up at the bar...when the little squares fell out of the machine, Barry fished them out and laughed, "look at how much pleasure you're getting from behind"...i was embarrassed at the time...i'm sure i turned bright red...i'd been one of the (few?) women who'd never thought of Barry sexually...he'd been a role model, a man i loved...he'd saved my life...

...i'd turn back time long enough to say thank you...


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