Time travel

There is a quote from Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin that I really like:

“This is what time travel is. It’s looking at a person, and seeing them in the present and the past, concurrently. And that mode of transport only worked with those one had known a significant time.”

Belonging, too, in some ways, is time travel. It’s the accumulation of all the times one has spent gaining the familiarity and warmth that makes belonging so special. This mode of transport could be in the form of a person. It could be your friend from high school who has faced countless challenges with you over the years. It could be your sibling, the one you are obligated to dislike (under the universal sibling law) but really, are lucky to share this lifetime with. 

Belonging could be a place – It could be your favourite coffee shop, your go-to basketball court or your favourite spot to soak in the sun on a cold winter morning. Belonging could be your favourite dish, the one you could take a spoonful of and instantly be transported back in time, reminded of all the moments you associate with the taste. It could be a specific type of weather – some are used to belonging in hot, sunny days, roaming around green parks and busy beaches, while others are used to belonging in cool, breezy, or even rainy days, curled up reading a favourite book. 

In fact, belonging could be a book, one whose pages instantly remind you of the first time you read it. Perhaps it’s a book where you found a character so relatable it was one of the few times you felt seen.

I believe that the “significant time” requirement of time travel, as in the quote above, doesn’t have to be in the past. You could walk into a place and instantly realise that it’s where you belong. Even if you haven’t spent a lot of time in the past there, it is still time travel. It is the culmination of time; the time that is now commencing. You can enter somewhere, meet someone, see something and instantly feel like you belong. It’s almost as if, briefly, you’re seeing a quick montage of the possibilities of the future, all the moments where you could belong.

Belonging, for certain things, can slowly dilute over time, and belonging for other things can slowly creep up on you over time. Time for belonging is non-linear and belonging bounces back and forth across it like a lost soul; you never know what form it might end up inhabiting.

When has belonging felt like time travel for you? What makes you travel back into the past or see the possibilities of the future?

We can’t wait to read your work and time travel with you! Happy writing!

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Words by Urvi Agrawal