story

Short Story – The Butterfly Effect

Everyone wishes they could turn back time. Undo their past mistakes, forget the shame and embarrassment. Yet, there’s one thing people never think about – the consequences of the pain that was felt. I learnt the hard way. That this universe is a bubble, one of an infinite number of scenarios. Every choice made causes another bubble to form and split off. I guess each and every one of us really are the centre of our own reality. Our choices set events in motion. Why would we want to mess with the nature of universe? Because of pain. Well that’s why I did. Do I regret it? Yes. Let me start from the beginning.

I screwed up. Multiple times in fact. I can see my life so easily in a sequence of traumatic mistakes and events. Bullying from a young age, isolation, a drug abusive father and well the list goes on. It’s not that my life was bad, it just was full of trauma which definitely had an effect on me. I was anxious, had trust issues, anger issues, some depression but I was always ok. Just ok and that was good enough for me. Then one day, despite all the strength I had in my mind and body, something finally broke me. I was abused, publicly humiliated and set up to fail. Did that destroy me? Yes. I wished I was dead, over and over again. It was a thought that consumed my mind. Then, it transformed. I no longer wished to be dead, I wished for the past to be, like it just didn’t happen. Or that I just didn’t live through it.

Words are incredibly powerful. But thoughts hold even more power. I didn’t know the effect they had. There was no build up. It just happened. Quickly and effortlessly. Like my past was based on of millions of scenarios and I could just substitute it for another. I thought of how I wish the past would die and it simply did. I didn’t know why it happened to me. I didn’t understand why the universe would choose me to give this power to. It just did. I definitely used it. First, I erased the thing that broke me and it was gone in a puff of smoke. The memories were still with me, yet it was like I watched them on a TV show. There was a disconnect. Any effect it had on me was expelled. The weird thing was that the memories that filled its place didn’t entirely seem like I was me in them. I didn’t question why at the time. Who would with this new found power? Naturally, I was cautious but I needed to see if it could happen again.

The next thing I wanted to change was something from my childhood. Could I have an effect on events that far in the past? I had no clue. But I chose something that I knew had effected me until my adult life. I thought of the bullying and wished it death. Just like that, it was gone. A distant TV show of myself that I had watched. The memories there but none of its effects. All of the mistrust of others, the insecurities, gone. I was amazed and excited. However, I was patient. I thought about what to change next for a while. I didn’t know the consequences so I had to be careful.

After a lot of thinking, I went with the loss of my best friend. The guilt I felt still weighed heavy because it was my fault the friendship ended. And just like that it was gone. In the days following, I learned the effects the changes I made were having. For one, I noticed we were best friends again. Or I should say still, because the friendship never ended. Then the subtle things started to appear. I was more confident and seemed to know more people. It seemed like it was all getting better. And yeah, I was foolish. Life doesn’t work like that.

I kept tweaking and altering everything I could think of. It didn’t all happen at once, I did it progressively. Seeing how my life panned out each time. Each memory a TV showed that I watched one evening, years ago. Everything seemed better because I had all I wanted, a life with barely any failures. It didn’t take long to see what I had actually done. I started to notice there were multiple of these show-like memories. At first, I thought it was weird, but then I realised that the further back I delete the past, the greater the change in the memories further on. It was a cascade effect. Some were subtle but some were immense. There were also some personality changes. I had become rude without realising it and the people I surrounded myself with were much like me. It had never occurred to me to think about why I stopped being friends with my best friend and people like her. I kept having vague recollections of the people I once knew. Some felt like they were from a lifetime ago. I was empty.

So, I tried again. Deleting where I think I went wrong. New memories formed, even more episodes were created. Each new memory was nothing like who I was. Then, I completely and utterly screwed up. I somehow indirectly caused the death of someone I loved. I tried, so hard to fix that. Nothing changed it. My mother who was once in my life, left it prematurely. All because the fundamental nature of who I am changed so incredibly that it put her in the path of a drunk driver one evening. She was buying a very specific gift for me. Somehow I had gained an interest in knitting and she was buying me yarn. I warped myself so far beyond recognition that I simply forgot who I was. I don’t like myself. I don’t like who I created. I stopped eventually, the past shouldn’t be tampered with. The pain? It all returned in the following years. Everyone has to face it eventually. I ended up losing my friend again and this time the roles were flipped. I was the problem. I didn’t cause it because I confronted her. It was all me this time. Well, I think that’s how it went the first time. There’s lots of outcomes in my head now.

The past is there for a reason. It teaches us to be better. Instead of choosing to learn, I wanted to change the past. Now I miss the life I think I had.

I don’t know what gave me the ability to manipulate these bubbles. I don’t even know why anyone would give me this. All I do know is that the changing the past effects everything, even if it’s in the slightest way. It’s the butterfly effect.

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