Short Story: Unchanging Past

Genre: fantasy


I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

The best thing about the past is that it’s reliably unchanging. The worst thing about the past is that it’s tragically unchanging.

Growing up, I watched my neighbourhood like episodes in a long running drama series. I watched birthdays, movie nights, backyard games, and bed time stories.

I also watched breakups, angry silences, bullying behind doors, and final goodbyes.

I have watched the lifetime of strangers, good and bad. I have watched decisions stacked upon decisions and their spiralling consequences push people down the inevitable path. I have watched enemies become friends and family become strangers.

The lives I always end up returning to belong to a pair of cheerful fraternal twins who lived in the house across mine many years ago. The two siblings began life like one soul in two bodies, only to slowly drift apart over the years due to a multitude of misunderstood intentions, thoughtless actions, and nursed hurts. They both ended up moving as far away as possible from each other to live identically bitter lives until they both passed away from the same disease.

How tragic, I muse as I watch the familiar scene once more. My next thought is a familiar continuation, If only.

If only they had talked things out that night.

If only they would swallow their pride and apologize.

If only they had turned left instead of right.

No matter how many ‘if only’s cross my mind, nothing changes, because the past is the past. Irreversibly unchangeable. I can only take the lessons I’ve learnt watching the past to shape my present.