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If I Could Turn Back...

Quarter_ToEver heard the R. Kelly song, If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time?

If you haven't you can read the lyrics here.

I wrote a book of poetry and short stories way back when. Contained on many of its pages are one lamentation after the other, forlorn, unrequited blah blah. Over the years people have told me how profound it is and how it speaks to them, or to a relationship they once had.

I was having a conversation with someone the other day about the book and it's contents. How it was compiled based on poems and short stories I wrote between the ages of 18 to 23. How if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't. Not the book, but the experiences that served as motivation for many of the stories.

Even more, if I could travel through time now as grown-man E.Payne I'd be waiting for fresh faced E.Payne at every turn...

  • When he opened the closet door in his dorm room, I'd be there to jump out to smack some sense into him.
  • When he went to turn on his car to go driving off into the night to stalk a former lover, to plead at her window that she was the only one for him, the car wouldn't start because I'd arrive five minutes earlier to cut every single wire and tube under the hood.
  • When he hatched some cockamamie scheme such as writing a script to read on the phone to that special someone who was no longer speaking to him. I'd turn the desk over and rip up the paper.
  • When he got dressed in his best Willi Wear rayon ridiculousness to go to a party so he could maybe create a chance moment with the one who used to be his, I'd pop out of the underwear drawer, choke fresh-faced E.Payne out, dump a pile of VHS tapes all over him and make him stay home, keep him company and we'd watch some good movies. And then I'd go back further.
  • In high school when fresh faced E.Payne opened his locker, I'd explode out of it and kick him up and down the hallways, throw him down a few of the iron staircases and beat him with his backpack until he begged me to stop. And when he would ask me why I was doing what I was doing I'd simply say, "You're too good to suffer the disrespect that is waiting for you in Algebra and Social Studies. You don't need to stay up nights listening to Sade, wondering why girls would rather have a bad guy who can't put a sentence together and only wants them for their bodies, to a decent fellow like you. There's nothing wrong with you. You wear glasses, that's all. Your parents are a little on the strict side but only because they love you. Don't do what I did. Don't change your outward appearance thinking people will accept you because they won't and when you realize this it's going to hurt like fire. And then you'll embrace what you knew all along, it's what's inside that counts. Don't hate yourself because you don't think anyone loves you. Love your God and love yourself and don't worry about what you can't control. Live everyday to the fullest, enjoy the little things, but stay mindful of the big picture." Then fresh-faced E.Payne, bloodied and broken, would say to me, "But aren't you me? How am I supposed to know what you know if I don't live as you did?" I would stare into my younger eyes, sigh, click my heels and disappear.

Here's the book in question:

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