The longer I remained in my past, the more wary I was about sleeping. I had no idea how long the experiment was supposed to last, and I didn't like the idea of wasting precious time sleeping.
Had I posed the question of how long I would be here to Mathew, I don't know that he would have had an answer either. We were dealing with an untested procedure. I knew that dream time was totally different from real time, if I was truly in a dream state at all. I remembered having dreams that seemed to span a long time, though when I woke up only an hour had passed.
And the fact was, I didn't want leave. Things were going well, and I felt I had been given the opportunity to make a difference in my future with Jules.
It was up to me to take control of my own destiny, and that meant I needed a clear, concise plan of action. That night after dinner, I told Mom I had to study up on some new computers we were going to be getting at work and excused myself to my room. I put ZZ Top's Eliminator into my cassette player and got to work.
I needed to map out what happened between the time I proposed to Jules and the night she disappeared. We had planned to elope the last weekend of June in 1985, and that was about three weeks away. The first thing to do would be to figure out what to change. It sounded simple enough, and then I thought about what Jeff had said about not being able to change things. He had no proof of that and neither did I. I would be going in blind and hoping this was fate.
I had always had my suspicions that someone tipped off Jules' mom about our elopement plans, but I never had any proof. I would need to make sure that no information got out. Part of me wished that I had dug around the internet, researched Jules' name to see if I could find out anything of her before I came back, but all that was a moot point now.
I was tired. I had heard every song in the rotation at least twice. I loved ZZ Top, but it was either put in a new cassette or go to bed. I went to shut things down and stopped when something occurred to me. It was the camping trip. That had to have been it, the ruse I had come up with to give us time to go down to Reno and get married.
I knew that Jules' mom really didn't like me; in fact she barely tolerated me. She never hid the fact that she didn't approve of my relationship with her daughter, and I never understood why. Maybe she just didn't trust men. Her husband of twenty-three years had walked out on her and Jules five years before and she had never gotten over that.
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made that Jules' mom had somehow gotten wind of our plans to elope. She must have reacted by doing the most drastic thing she could think of: packing up and leaving with her daughter. It was the only explanation I could think of and it made sense. What a horrible and selfish thing to do to her daughter. I would never think about doing something like that to Megan.
What an odd comparison for me to come up with. But was I treating my own daughter any worse in what I was thinking about doing right now? What kind of a father was I? Was I just plain crazy?
I laughed out loud and shook my head. Well, really, if I stopped to think about it wasn’t the whole situation just a little plain crazy? How often does it happen that one finds himself in the past, able to actually interact? I would think the odds would be a million to none. But here I was. Did that in any way condone my behavior and how it would affect Megan, Lizzie even? No, but the only thing that would ease my sense of guilt, which was just now starting to peek out, was that here, the future hadn’t happened yet. There was no Megan, no Lizzie. Small consolation, but true none the less. And Jules was here.
I was exhausted from my mental work out, and I really needed to get some sleep. I turned off the cassette player and went to the mirror above my dresser and looked at the picture of Jules. Sweet, beautiful Jules. Gazing into those eyes, I felt a calmness overcome me. I took the photo off the mirror and laid down on my bed, holding the picture over my heart. I closed my eyes and fell asleep to thoughts of standing next to Jules in a chapel, reciting our vows to each other while wedding music played softly in the background.
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