“No.” He didn’t even bother to look up from his computers and gadgets when the other man came into the room. “I can’t, you know I can’t. We won’t. So, No.” The old man standing at the door waited until the deceptively younger looking man stopped fidgeting about with the gadgets and looked up at him. It took longer than he anticipated, but he knew it would happen. He did stop and pushed his glasses up on top of his head. “I’m sorry, I’ve said no. I don’t think you’ll be able to change my mind, so it would probably be better for us all if you just go.”
“If I can’t change your mind, then what is the harm in hearing me out?” The younger looking man seemed uneasy for a moment. “Please sir,” The older looking man insisted.
With a sigh, the younger looking man slid his glasses back down onto his nose and indicated to two chairs to the side of the room. “Okay. Let’s hear it. What do you want to do?”
“Just one day. Less than, really, an hour or so. We go back to when she was working at that coffee shop, you know, the little one just off of Main Street. There are hundreds of people in and out of that shop every day. We go back to before she met me so that she couldn’t recognize me even if she wanted to. I go in, I buy a coffee, I get a smile and a have a nice day, and get to walk away with that as my last memory of he, and she’s just polite to another elderly customer, none the wiser.” The older man folded his hands quietly in his lap, and waited as the younger processed the thought.
After a long silence, the younger looking man gave a sad smile. “I was sure you wanted to go back and do something different, change something to find a way to save her.”
“No, sir. If knowing you has taught me anything, it’s that there are things that can’t be changed. And I don’t think she’d ever forgive me if I tried to re-write her sacrifice for us. I just want to have a better last memory of her, the last time I see her in my timeline–I want to see her with a smile on her face.”
“She won’t be yours, you know. She’ll never have met you, she won’t love you. In fact, depending on when we end up she might love someone else. Are you ready to deal with that?”
“As long as she smiles—yes.”
“Okay,” The younger looking man bounded up out of his chair, and pulled out the books to begin the calculations. “Let’s go get you on last smile from your wife.”