Death’s Nostalgia

“Marshall…,” the aging, portly psychologist leaned forward on his chair and smiled at the 12-year-old boy. “Could you give me a few minutes alone with your mom?”

“But it’s true!” Marshall blurted out, on the verge of tears. He felt lucky his mom believed him enough to make an appointment for him, but somehow it came as a surprise when it seemed the doctor didn’t believe him. The doctor nodded at Marshall.

“Just a few minutes. After that, I think we can help you out.”

“You.. you can help?” Marshall asked through narrowed eyes.

“Go out and wait in the lobby for a bit,” the psychologist smiled and nodded. Marshall hesitated for a moment until his mother reassured him.

“Go on dear, I’m sure this’ll be quick,” she said. Marshall nodded then stood from his seat and left the room. The moment he was gone the doctor turned his attention to Marshall’s mother.

“How are things at home, Mrs. Fuentes?” he asked. “Is there a Mr. Fuentes in the picture?”

“Excuse me?” Marshall’s mom scoffed. “We’re here to talk about Marshall’s delusions.”

“That’s why I’m asking. To help him, need to know what’s going on at home.” The late 30s woman shrugged.

“No marriage is perfect, especially mine. We haven’t told Marshall anything, but at the moment my husband is on his last chance. If he doesn’t get himself together by the end of the year, it’s time for a divorce.”

“Beautiful,” the psychologist clasped his hands together in excitement. “That tells me everything I need to know,” he gestured at the door. “You can bring Marshall back in now.”

“Then, you can help? You can really help with his delusions?” she asked as she stood from her seat.

“I can help your son,” he said confidently. She opened the door and waved Marshall back in; the boy walked in nervously; his eyes danced between the doctor and his mom. He walked to his seat and sat quietly.

“Tell me about your day yesterday, Marshall,” the doctor said.

“I don’t remember,” Marshall replied timidly. The doctor shook his head.

“Not 12-year-old yesterday. Yesterday when you were 28, what was that day like?”

“Uh.. it was my 28th birthday,” he said. “I spent it alone again. I was missing you guys,” he looked at his mother.

“Did you celebrate by getting a tattoo?” the doctor asked. Marshall’s eyes went wide.

“Yeah! How’d you know?” he asked. “Did you check for the tattoo this morning?”

“No…,” Marshall shook his head. “I was kind of busy freaking out.”

“Where is it?”

“On my back,” Marshall said. The doctor pointed at Marshall and made a gesture with his pen. Marshall understood and pulled the back of his shirt up. His mom gasped immediately.

“MARSHALL MERRIWEATHER FUENTES!” His mom shouted. “HOW DARE YOU GET A TATTOO!” The doctor moved quickly from his seat to save the boy from a smack on the side of his head.

“Wait Mrs. Fuentes!” he shouted as he caught her hand.

“He’s telling the truth!” Her hand went limp and she turned to face the doctor with a slack jaw. Marshall looked up at him too.

“You believe me?!” he asked.

“As soon as you walked in,” the doctor grinned. “I needed some more information from your mom to figure out why you came back to this time.” the doctor turned his attention to Marshall’s mother.

“Your son is Unique. He can control time. On his 28th birthday he missed his parents so much he came back to a time of fond memories. There’s actually a lot more to discuss, but that’s the important thing right now. He’s not having delusions.”

“Prove it,” she said while shaking her head. “Unless you prove it right now, I have to believe this is all…,” she waved her hands around at the small office, then at the psychologist. “… just an elaborate plan to keep you out of trouble for getting that god awful tattoo.”

“What do I do?” Marshall asked the doctor. He shrugged.

“Prove it,” he said with a grin.

“How!?” Marshall asked.

“You control time. That includes the time around you and your own personal biological clock. You turned 28 yesterday, but you’re 12 today. Show your mom what you look like at 28.”

Marshall closed his eyes and focused on an image of himself at 28, then he heard a soft thud. He opened his eyes and saw his mother unconscious on the ground with the doctor chuckling behind his desk.

“She fainted,” he said and pointed at a mirror on the wall. Marshall checked his appearance. A 28-year-old man in stretched out 12-year-old boy’s clothes.

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