About 90 years ago, a woman went to the post office.
When she came out, she realised that she had forgotten something (stamps, the story has it).
She turned back and queued up again, presumably annoyed at her wasted time. Another customer in the queue, a man, began talking to the woman. He made her laugh. He was attractive. He ended up being her husband, and the father to her children.
Their daughter liked to dance. When she was in her late teens, she was asked to stand in for a dancer who was ill, in a show in Blackpool. She said yes, but the decision was so last minute, so unexpected, that she didn’t even pack her swimsuit. In those days, you didn’t go to Blackpool without a swimsuit. She had to borrow one to go in the sea. While she was in the sea, a man on the beach noticed her bright auburn hair.
‘That’s dyed,’ he said to his friends.
‘Prove it,’ they said.
So he dunked her in the sea.
They got married a few years later. They had a daughter. Thirty years later, their daughter had me.
I think all the time about those forgotten stamps, and the dancer who was too ill to be in the show in Blackpool. I wouldn’t exist without either of these tiny events. My daughter wouldn’t exist either.
Everything we do causes ripples. It fascinates me, and that’s why I love reading and writing novels with dual or multiple timelines. There’s something magical about placing such fragile moments that sparked the beginning of something alongside the more recent events that they set in motion all those years ago. Real life doesn’t let you see two different times together, but oh, imagine if it did! I would love to go to the post office and bump into the 1920s woman who has forgotten her stamps.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jvk/508534252/”>jovike</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>