Grant’s first thought it was just being on the road that was the cause of his back pain. Walking along the road till someone stopped to give him a ride, sleeping on cots in hostels. If only he hadn’t looked in the mirror, maybe it would have gone away. Maybe he would have woken up from to finds everything normal. But the second he looked at his face in the mirror, the impossible dream became his reality.
The face that looked back at him belonged to him. It had his features, but they were obscured by time. He was old. Not that he was young in any sense. He was down right old to many of the people he now worked with in Hollywood. At forty-two, even thought there were many older than him, the film business had begun to feel like a world for a much younger generation. The winds were changing. The man the mirror showed Grant had to be in his sixties. He looked much like his father had at his death several years earlier, but with the soft outline of his mother. His skin had lost some of its color, the wrinkles lining it, deeper. Under his eyes were soft puffs of slightly darkened flesh.
Grant’s heart must have been racing, he could hear his blood pumping in his ears. But none of his parts seemed to be working right. His breath came and went in harsh bursts. He could not feel his feet, but surly they were on the floor. If only he could make them move.
For a second, he had hoped he as in a dream. It felt like one he would have, but he knew it to be useless. He knew reality one always does when in it.
His mixture of practicality and fantastical nature actually helped him in this scenario. He had often wondered what his reaction would be if something catastrophic happened to him or a loved one, now was his chance to find out. It felt like hours before he stepped away from the mirror. His mind racing. How it had happened, he could not fathom. Besides, that was the last on his list. Step one, accept, he had done. There was no other road when it came to that. He had aged, fifteen to twenty years. Denying it would only drag him away from reality.
Looking around the room, everything was the same as the night before. He had paid a little extra for a private room. His door remained locked and had not been disturbed. Whatever had happened to him must be him alone. He called his agent who told Grant he sounded a little tired, but other than that the conversation was nothing out of the ordinary. That was that. The world spun on. Only he had awoken in the body of his future.
He walked to his bed and sat down. His body, worn and aching; his mind reeling.
This surly was the end. The beginning of it, at least. For if this happened today, it could happen any. And so little had he done in his life. The master piece he envisioned in his mind, lay there, waiting for Grant to write it. But instead he had written those which his agent said would get his name out there. Only then was it safe to break the rules. But these new kids did just fine breaking the rules. And now his time waned.
Time. What a fool he had been to disregard it. All his life, he had listen what he would do “one day”. The list had grown and hardly anything had been marked off. And now, all of those years of planning for a life had caught up with him. the years wasted had built up, crept up, and taken over his body.
He called his agent back.
“Grant? Are you okay? You just called.”
“I know.” Grant paced the room as he talked. “I just called to say, I am going on a trip.”
Laughter came from the other end of the line. “Is that all? I know Grant. You are researching for…”
“No, I mean I am taking a holiday.” He paused. “I have always told myself I would go to Sweden.”
I took a minute for Becky to respond. “Sweden. You are going to Sweden? Right.” She said, not sounding convinced.
“I mean it. I have done nothing in my life for myself. Everything has been this great build up. And to what? I’ll tell you… old age.”
“You have plenty of time to travel, Grant. But you need to work on the script. They are depending on you.”
“They will have to wait. Or find someone else.” Grant packed his bag, holding the phone to his ear with his shoulder.
“What is wrong? You don’t miss deadlines. You don’t run off. Is it writer’s…”
“You know I hate that term. No, I am not blocked. You are right, I do as I am told, and I never take chances.”
“I didn’t say…”
“You said enough.” He waited for her to respond. “Take care, Becky.”
“That sounds like a goodbye.” A hint of irritation mixed with her confusion.
“Maybe it is.” Grand hung up. He tossed the phone out the window and watched it fly over the balcony.
“Or maybe, I am finally saying ‘hello’.”