2:33 PM. Stuck in the middle of history class.
The professor’s monotonous voice filled the entire classroom. Students are either disinterested, pre-occupied or on the verge of sudden death due to the immense amount of boredom circulating throughout the air. I take hold of my pen and start doodling on an empty page of the book.
I’m an absolute disgrace when it comes to illustrations. Usually when I do feel confident about it, I just replicate the same sketch over and over again – the only difference would be the perspective of the main subject. This time, it’s a worn-out, waving flag. I’ve probably filled out the entire page with the same flag and honestly, it’s getting rather dull having to draw the same thing again and again. Sadly, this is the only good thing I can come up with my incapable hands.
“The Japanese surrendered to the Americans…” rambled our professor.
Unbeknownst to most people, I actually love history but when it gets to the good parts, specifically events about the World War or the era of colonialization – all that nerdy talk. But right now, I end up thinking:
What if this never happened?
I slowly turned the pages of my book to a certain section of the World War history and started striking out lines with my pen and put an alternative phrase to take up their place. But when my pen left the surface of the page, I felt a sharp pain in my neck and lost my consciousness.
I felt a sharp sting in my left hand. A glass shard found its way deep into my palm and blood oozed from the slit that it created.
What just happened?
When I finally came to my senses, a strong wind brushed past me and with it, a torn-out newspaper found its way to my side.
The headline shows: Atom bomb hits Philippine city: millions dead.
Confused at the situation I had found myself in. But staying dumbfounded on top of a rubble pile doesn’t feel like the right course of action.
In an effort to better grasp my surroundings, I stood up and navigated through the remains of a commercial district. The streets felt eerie with the sight of vehicles being turned to their sides, streetlights toppled down coupled with the sight of a doll which might have belonged to a little girl.
Dark spots could be found throughout the area – as if they were shadows of the people who once lived here and they came in different sizes.
These people didn’t even know what hit them, I thought and that idea felt rather chilling – the idea of not knowing you’re already dead.
Moving further to the edge of the district, within the ruins of what appears to be formerly a clothes store, I found a skeleton with a bag strapped to its back – a student, probably around the same age as me.
Rummaging through the contents of its school bag, I found a badly damaged history book.
The last thing I did was writing on my own history book. If I did it again, maybe I could go back, I thought.
As I crossed out and scribbled a new phrase in its contents, I heard a rather familiar voice.
“My dear?” It said. A woman came rushing and trapped me in her warm embrace. But my pen already left the page’s surface and I lost my senses.
In opening my eyes, I found myself back in my rightful place – on my seat in the middle of a boring history class. The school bell chimes and with it, the end of a dreadful discussion about history.
I don’t know what just happened but one thing’s for sure: I’ll think twice about altering any text in my books.