Short story: A City Called Time

June 1, 2021

Collage created by Ananya with images from Pexels

Ananya Badithe explores the relationship between Past, Present and Future

She lives with her family in a city called Time. Her name Present, her daughter Future and her mother Past.

Present is curious, she constantly questions the impact of her actions. Nothing she does feels enough. She doesn’t know the pleasures of sleep or relaxation. 

She always wonders if her mother did enough for her. Did Past work hard enough. Did Past contribute at all?

Present tries her best but she panics at times. Her heart races and she feels trapped. Feels anxious and feels the need to fix everything around her. Sometimes even that doesn’t help and she finds no one but her mother and herself to blame. She wished her mother worked harder to give her a good life; a heavy burden on her shoulders that gets heavier the more she thinks about everything.

But one thing Present never feels is certain.

She wonders whether she will be able to give Future a good life. She wonders whether she will be fine. She wonders whether her family will make it.

Future is an optimistic little child, with so many expectations. Strongly bonded to her mother, everything her mother does she watches carefully. With every observation, Future builds a character of her own. She relies on her mother to guide her at every step of life.

Present struggles so much that she wonders why she hasn’t given up yet and just stopped caring about the time that drops away around her

Present, knowing this, finds the will to keep going. In the midst of all this unpredictability, all she can do is rely on herself. She has to bear the weight of her mother’s actions and her daughter’s life. Past and Future.

At times, Present struggles so much that she wonders why she hasn’t given up yet and just stopped caring about the time that drops away around her. There is this itch in her mind to keep going. An itch that won’t let her give up.

She realises that it is Hope. She realises Hope runs in her blood. She cannot stop even if she wished to. Because that is not what she is. She is driven by a single, pure and beautiful emotion: Hope.

One day, her mother, Past, noticing Present’s struggle, sits with her.

“Honey, I know how it feels to be uncertain. No matter how much you have, you will always feel you don’t have enough. I’m not saying that that’s bad, but don’t let it steal your happiness.

As for Future, don’t worry so much about her, that you miss out on the joy of watching her grow. When I was your age and I had you, I was worried just like you are. I wanted you to become a wonderful person. And look at us today. You are everything I ever hoped for.”

She knew that just as good times don’t last, bad times don’t either. And that is what life is

Present stared at her mother as she heard her words. Past’s perspective. She began feeling the burden being lifted off her shoulders. She knew that just as good times don’t last, bad times don’t either. And that is what life is.

All humanity really owns is Hope.

Present walks back to her room and sits at her desk. She pulls out a notebook labelled “Notes from the Beyond” and begins to write.

Dear Reader,

I am you. I struggle, I regret, I fail. All for things I did in the Past. These emotions are inevitable, and I don’t want to condemn myself for feeling them. But this can also get self-destructive. But the struggle cannot last.

I want to enjoy the small things in life. I cannot be stuck in the irreversible past and the unknown future. This is a gentle reminder for myself, you, us, to not regret what you did and not to obsess over what will be.

You will get through it.

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