I first woke this morning at about 5:30am, squinted at the alarm clock, and prompty fell back asleep. I then woke with a start at 7:30am, half an hour after I would normally get up. In those two hours I had perhaps the most vivid, inventive, memorable dream in quite some time. I’ve only just had the chance to sit down and write about it now – 14 hours on – but the fact that a key scene from the dream is still in my head speaks volumes. I don’t usually remember much about dreams at all.
In the dream I was visiting a corporate building, and had walked into a room where a number of people were sitting around the table. They were all couples I know from the present – but were all perhaps twenty years younger. As they engaged each other in animated conversation around the table I figured that none of them were married or had children yet.
During a lull in their conversation, they noticed me sitting at the table smiling at them – I was obviously a stranger, so probably seemed quite odd. I had just started to say “do you want me to tell you a secret?”, when I woke up.
The secret I was about to tell each couple was their own future. I had figured out that each couple at the table were people I now knew as married – several with children. Some had moved away, and some still lived nearby. Some I hadn’t seen for years.
After getting out of bed, I kept playing the scene through in my head. Imagine if you were presented with the situation – landing in the middle of a long standing group of friends in the distance past – before your lives had played out. Would you tell people what was to come? Would that change the future? Would it harm anything? Then I started thinking about parents that had passed away, and children that had passed away in infancy. I wondered if it was a good idea that I had woken up when I did.
Imagine carrying the burden of the future on your shoulders. Science fiction almost always paints time travel as a wonderful thing, but on reflection I think it might also be a nightmare for the time traveller.