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Chapter 18 - Back to the Future?

After reassuring Mandy that he wasn’t pulling any pranks, Nick sat back down on the bed in defeat. He still wasn’t at all sure what was going on, whether he was alive or dead, but figured it was time to start asking questions. If this was his new reality, then he’d better get used to it…fast.

“Erm Mandy” he began “how did I end up here?”

“Don’t you remember? You were trying to teach Jacob how to skateboard, but you lost your balance, fell and banged your head on one of the terracotta plant pots on the patio” she replied “you were knocked out for a few minutes and had me so worried”.

“Plant pots? Patio? Skateboard?” he muttered to himself under his breath so that she wouldn‘t hear. There wasn’t anywhere to practice skateboarding where he lived, and he didn’t have a patio outside the trailer. Just a scrappy bit of lawn, full of weeds and littered with cigarette ends, empty bottles and other debris. But falling off a skateboard and banging his head did sound like the kind of thing he would do.

“Uh yeah, I kind of remember” Nick lied and rubbed his head “just a bit fuzzy”

Shit, this isn’t going to be like going back in time. At least going back in time I had some idea of what to expect. But now…going to an alternate future…I really don’t know shit. Do I still live in the trailer park? No, I don’t think I do judging by the plush hospital room I‘m in. What about the kids? I wonder if they are the same, or if my past actions have changed them. And if I still met and married Amanda Owen…my Mandy…then I must’ve done something right. I don’t look like I did before, so obviously life took a turn for the better somewhere along the line. I just wish I knew what was going on.

“I think you should lie back down, get some sleep and it’ll all be better in the morning” Mandy advised and bent down to kiss him gently on the forehead. Having her so near to him after all this time felt weird, but right all the same. He breathed in the smell of her perfume before she pulled away and smiled to himself. Maybe this was all a dream, but he was going to enjoy it while he could.

The following morning, Nick woke up and found himself still in the hospital room he’d woke up in yesterday. “So it wasn’t a dream” he said to himself as he rubbed at his eyes and yawned. He looked around the empty room, taking it all in yet again. How could he have ended up back in 2020? Why did he come back? Just when he’d finally felt comfortable and come to terms with going back in time, he’d been transported out of the life he was living there and into this one. It was more than enough to confuse him.

Nick decided that Mandy must’ve gone home some time last night after he’d gone back to sleep, and he was grateful to have a bit of alone time to try and make sense of things.

If he really had come back to the future, he wondered what this new future was like. He didn’t just wonder about his life, but the lives of everyone connected with him. What about the boys? What happened with the Unbreakable CD? Did we still manage to go on even though Kevin left? Or did we just drift apart and become strangers to one another like before? Oh, I wish I had all of the answers!

Being all alone in the room, Nick decided to see whether there were any clues to this new life. He patted the pockets of the jeans he’d fallen asleep in, but all he found in the pockets was a half empty pack of chewing gum, at least that was still his favourite brand. Next he leaned over and opened the top drawer of the bedside table…bingo! Sitting there was a nice shiny iPhone. Of course, he hadn’t owned one of those the last time around, he could never have afforded it with the tiny little bit of income he had, and the latest phone had been the last thing on his mind back then. Before he returned to the future he’d owned a Blackberry 8100 which had been the latest model in 2007, he‘d loved his Blackberry. He reached into the drawer and pulled the phone out, it was switched off, so he switched it on and eagerly waited while it powered up. I wonder who’s in my contact list?

In no time at all, he’d figured out how to use the phone, he’d always been good with technology. He tapped the contacts icon and nervously scrolled down, hardly able to believe his eyes when he saw who was in his contacts.

“Oh my god…AJ” he scrolled “Brian…Howie…and Kevin…I still know them!” Nick almost did a happy dance but settled for smiling from ear to ear instead. He contemplated calling one or all of them, but refrained from doing so. What would he say? He had no idea what kind of speaking terms they were on, whether they were still good buddies or just casual acquaintances. So instead, once he’d finished looking at who else’s number he had, he checked out the photos and music on the phone. Oh wow, look at the kids, they’re just the same as I remember, I can’t wait to see them for real, it’s been so long.

He didn’t hear the door open, he was so engrossed in going through the photos on his iPhone, but he jumped at her touch.

“That’s a great photo” she said and leaned in to kiss him. He didn’t know whether to return the kiss, but did anyway, even though it felt almost foreign to him, it had been such a long time since he’d kissed her. “How‘re you feeling this morning?”

“Oh y’know, sore head, but other than that I’m OK” he smiled that lopsided grin.

“Well, the doctor says you’re good to go, so let’s get you out of here” Mandy began gathering up Nick’s possessions.

“Where are the kids, I’m dying to see them” Nick asked as he walked into the bathroom to freshen up a bit.

“School, it‘s ten o‘clock” Mandy replied, shaking her head but smiling at her husband.

“Right, well I guess I’ll see them later” Nick shrugged. He was eager to get out of the hospital but nervous about what was waiting for him out there. Would he fit in with this new life? Or would he feel like a fish out of water? Well, I guess it’s time to find out!

Chapter End Notes:
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