October 31, 1947

[Continued from the previous entry]

I lay awake after darkness, per usual. It’s quiet now at Eloise, despite there being a couple thousand other patients in this building. Every day is a toxic mix of insomnia, confusion, anxiety, and utter sadness. But this being my first holiday in this strange world, I’m really feeling the emotional punches to the groin.

It’s trick or treating tonight here in 1947. Although from what I understand, the whole notion of begging for candy, door-to-door, isn’t much of a thing yet.  Mildred down the hall thought I was a bit nutty for even suggesting that children roam the streets semi-unattended during the evening, searching for goodies from total strangers on strange doorsteps. 

But evidently Halloween parties exist here, as do pumpkin carvings and apple bobbings.  The costumes are mainly home-made and assembled from whatever crap you found around the attic (per Mildred).  Like tin foil and cardboard and goofy hats or whatever else is laying around. Those gaudy big-box costume stores you see temporarily popped up in strip malls in October haven’t found their footing yet here in the 1940s. 

If I were a kid today, maybe I’d dress up as one of those characters on that Quiet, Please radio show.  Yeah, that’s it. 

Boy Wearing Knight Costume --- Image by © Michael Martin/Corbis

I recall Halloween last year – that is, last year in my era. Pumpkin-shaped holding bags in tow, the boys raced down the stairs costumed up in their matching Nemo fish outfits. As I watched them get increasingly excited about getting outside and dashing to the nearest neighbor’s home with the beckoning porch light on, I can see myself in them thirty years earlier. Oh, the hours of build-up and anticipation that hounded me and every other kid in the school classroom throughout the day. It would only be a matter of time before I’d get my own superhero outfit on and start my door-to-door collection of candy.

After a couple hours of hitting as many neighbors’ porches as we could in the waning daylight, I’d sit on the living room floor with the boys and watch them inspect their loot.

My eyes burn from visualizing those images in my head.

It’s been over a month since some unknown hand of the Universe steered me to this place. It’s nearing the end of August 2018 back home, if I’m doing my math right. Will I make it “back” in time to watch them don Halloween costumes again?

Of course, I haven’t the slightest clue how I’d navigate back. Even castaways on a deserted island can hold onto hope – however small – of a passing ship or plane spotting them. Perhaps you could even create a makeshift raft, roll the dice, and see if the ocean’s current sends you to somewhere populated, if you didn’t die of starvation first. Survival was highly unlikely, but certainly not impossible. There is always hope.  Always options available even if they carried a microscopic chance for success.

But here? There are no ships or planes or ocean currents that carried Tom Hanks and his volleyball Wilson off to home. No, this is far different. So different that I can’t even begin to understand the basics of it, where even my faintest of hopes are nearly gone. Everyone could at least understand getting lost on the ocean or in a desert. But no one has ever heard of getting lost in time. 

I am a stranger here.

Indeed, I’ve read a few fantastic stories, allegedly true stories, of people experiencing something called a time slip. There was an account of two women during the turn of the twentieth century slipping back to the time of Marie Antoinette while visiting Versailles in France. Of course, their story was ridiculed, and I recall reading it for simple pure entertainment as well. The stories were easy to debunk. But now I’m curious if these slips are real, and if I’m participating in one right now.

However, in those time slip anecdotes, the individual experienced it for just a matter of a few minutes, at most. Sometimes the reports of stepping into a historical scene passed in a matter of seconds. And just as swiftly, and for no apparent reason, they were thrust back into their own time.

Can’t I be thrust back?

Yet here I am, approaching six weeks of this experience, which has certainly broken all sorts of records among alleged time slippers. I just hope and pray that my time here is up soon and come one morning I’ll open my eyes face-down back on that park path. In good old 2018, with a crazy story to tell.  Or keep secret. 

I want so badly to see Amanda and the kids, my stomach consistently hurts because of it.

When will this agonizing dream finally end?

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