Who was I to Judge How History Should Unfold?

That night, we stuffed our faces with cake and drank the last of our schnapps. We danced on tables and spilled out onto the street singing loud songs from western movies. And at some point, I let my eyes flicker closed as I spun around in a circle, laughing until my sides hurt. In the morning, when we woke up hungover and sticky with frosting crumbs and puke stains, I wanted to change it all again so that it could be over faster.

But even though you were always afraid of repeating history until it was too late to do anything about it -- even though you hated time travel stories because they felt so pointless -- you still took an awful lot of pride in your family's history. You collected old stories and read them over and over, trying to capture their flavor. You kept a journal of the events around you, but you never wrote in it.

And even when we were alone together, you would talk nonsensically about how history changed like the weather. If it was cold one day, you said, people would freeze to death; if it was warm the next day, they'd be too hot to move and wouldn't notice anyway. You told me that this kind of change wasn't necessarily bad; sometimes things could be better because they were different from what had already happened before.

But now everything seemed so much simpler than in my future -- simple enough for us to make mistakes without having any consequences at all. And so we made mistakes. We took shortcuts, and did things wrong, because now there was no one to tell us what to do. And when you said that this was okay, I let it slide.

In retrospect, we made a lot of mistakes. But at the time they seemed like good ideas, even the terrible ones -- except for maybe the first time we kissed in the street (but let's not talk about that). But soon enough these careless mistakes would become memorable events; soon enough they would have a place in history books and movies and novels.

And if my life were as important as you had always said it would be -- if every decision I made could influence people's lives down through time -- then surely our decisions wouldn't be any different from normal people's? They'd just be bigger or smaller than average. And anyway: who was I to judge how history should unfold? The future didn't seem all that important anymore; the only thing worth remembering was this moment right now, with you here by my side. This could be our whole story, if I wanted it to be.

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