Get Ahead

by Anonymous

 

It’s a beautiful day out. Even with this quarantine stuff going on, my wife and I are going for a walk. While we still can. Getting old isn't something I’m too excited for. 

“Hey, watch out!” Some biker that doesn’t understand what ‘share the road’ means plows into my wife and I. I fall right down onto the floor. My head hurts. I close my eyes.

 

 

“Tony, wake up!” Lt. Levine shouts at me as the engine of the helicopter drowns all other sounds. I look around. Lt. Levine? We’re in a helicopter? Oh come on, when I said I don’t want to be old, I didn’t mean I’d like to go back to Vietnam!  The helicopter gets closer to the ground and I start to remember this. I get up as the other Marines are leaving to finally get a hot meal at the base. I’m the last one out when the helicopter suddenly goes up and I fall onto the ground. I close my eyes. My head hurts.

 

 

I’m at home in my bed. It must be 2020, as any other year, even when I was a kid in Yugoslavia, I would have been in a hospital for that injury. Wait, did I just travel through time? That wasn’t a dream. I was in 1971. And now I'm back in 2020. My wife places a glass of water at my bedside and I close my eyes. 



“I love you, have a great day Sammy!” I shout to my son as he walks to school. I traveled back in time. Again. My kid’s forty now and it’s so strange to see him as a kindergartener again. I get back in my car and remember. I drive off and make a left on Forrest Avenue. Suddenly, a car zooms in my direction going fifty miles an hour. I swerve out of the way and hit a pole by the local temple. My head hurts.



Back in 2020. 

“Honey,” I tell my wife

“What is it?” She asks

“I keep going through times I hit my head. I close my eyes and I was in Vietnam, and I wake up after I hit my head, and then I wake up. I close them again and I'm in that accident.” I tell her.

“That’s strange. Get some rest,” She tells me and kisses my head. I close my eyes

 

“Hey, hey, pass here!” I shout in Croat. Sergei sticks his tongue at me while he passes to Lukas. I’m a kid again! Why am I going back here? Lukas passes the ball to Darijo. Darijo! I haven’t seen him in years. He was a good kid. Strange to be in Yugoslavia again. 

“Ante!” He shouts as he kicks the ball in my direction. I’m by the goal and try to head it in. I didn’t know Lukas was in my way and hit his head. I fall to the floor. My head hurts.



“Tony, you’re up!” My wife tells me. 

“Yes, Francine. I just saw Darijo again.” She doesn’t talk.

“Tony, are you alright. You keep seeing things.” 

“I was back in Yugoslavia, playing soccer and then I collided with Sergei and boom. Back here.” 

“Well, Tony, you should drink some water.” My wife tells me as I drink the water. 

“My head hurts,” I say. I close my eyes.



It’s a beautiful night in my home village of Svetice. Darijo and I are going on one final walk before my family and I go on ‘vacation’ to America. 

“Did you talk to Martina yet?” I ask Darijo. 

“Yep.” He beams. 

“Darijo, I’m going to miss you on vacation,” I tell him.  Here’s the big rock I fell off of.  

“Darijo, don’t move to Vukovar in 1985. Move to America instead.” Darijo looks at me strangely. I tell him and trip off of the rock. My head hurts. 



My eyes are closed but nothing’s moving. It’s just black. How can this be? Am I dead? Is this what happens forever? This is cruel if it is. It’s starting to get a little light out. What’s going on? What year is it?

 

It’s 2020. Quarantine time. 

“Honey, someone’s texting you.” My wife gives me her phone. 

“Ok, my head isn’t feeling too bad,” I say. I take the phone from my wife. I unlock my phone and it’s a text from Darijo. That can’t be, he’s dead… It only says one thing. 

“Thank you.” 

 

 

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Christopher Vaccaro, Fair Lawn High School

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