This story came from the prompt “A woman thinks she might be living next door to her grandson” given in the book 642 Things to Write About. When I read that prompt, my mind immediately went to time travel, and then I had to brainstorm about who was the time traveler and why. I wanted to avoid the overdone plots of saving someone’s life or assassinating somebody.
As I thought, I realized that researching family secrets, which could help if they weren’t stigmatized, was perfect for a time travel story. I wrote the first draft at a time when I was on medication for depression. It wasn’t until I told my parents I had suicidal thoughts that I learned that it had happened among my ancestors, too. So if I could leave a message with this story, it would be if you are dealing with mental illness, reach out for help. You are not alone. And tell your kids about the bad times as well as the good. Knowing the bad times can be overcome is part of instilling confidence.
On a lighter note, I wrote this story picturing that the narrator was a woman. However, when I sent it to beta readers, they pointed out that I never made it explicit that she was a woman. Since the narrator being a straight woman or a gay man (or somewhere inbetween) doesn’t make much difference to the story, I have decided to leave it ambiguous.
Many thanks to beta readers Julia Jeffery, Emily Debenham, John Parsons and everyone from critters (Christian Waldo, Joel Roosa, Dan Reade, Lee Nicol, Sandy Kulhavy, Kathy, Scott Ealey, Mariah Avix, Raymond Colerick, Carine Engelbrecht, Neal Williams, Corey White, Dave Beavers, Alex, Lora Kilpatrick, Joel Kirk, and John Griffin).
This story is dedicated to my grandma Dayonne, for the support she has always been to me.