Something amazing has happened to me. It’s hard to explain; you’d need to be extremely open-minded and receptive to the idea of time travel to believe my story. Science is not my thing so I won’t attempt to address the theory of time travel, I’m just going to tell you how it is; here goes.
I had a blinding headache. Not the type you moan about and take a couple of paracetemol for but a genuine debilitating migraine. Popping some serious prescription pills I collapsed into bed; my burdensome head positioned utterly still on the pillow. The things is not to move, even the slightest shift is wretched.
I closed my eyes and retreated to a place in my mind where pain does not exist. There, deep in my corpus callosum within its intricate neural fibres, I stumbled upon this amazing ability to imagine a location or an event and transport there.
The first time I teleported I was dubious; it was a dream, it was a side effect of the medication I rationalised. It couldn’t be real could it? I mean I was living in a dusty furnished room in 221b Baker Street; the home of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The whole thing was silly. I enjoyed it though…hanging out with Benedict.
“Why do you keep calling me Benedict?” he would question in that sexy, I’ve got to get to the bottom of this, voice; it was way huskier in real life than on film. In truth Benedict was way more everything in the flesh apart from practical; he wouldn’t be able to spell the word paint.
It seems I had just moved in and Mrs Hudson was assisting me with covering the furniture with dust sheets.
“Feel free to paint the room; it hasn’t been touched in years but don’t make too much noise dearie, Sherlock needs to concentrate.”
Really? I thought he had this miraculous ability to walk around his mind as if he were physically in a library, extracting files and information; oblivious to his environment. Surely 50 Cent’s Candy Shop wouldn’t be an issue. It seems it was.
“You, yes you,” Benedict summoned. I endeavoured to be casual – it’s hard when you have a crush on someone.
“Yo, Ben, what’s up?”
“Sherlock, my name in Sherlock,” he replied impatiently, his tone irritated but oh so amazingly deep and haughtily English. He did that impressive trick where he assesses you: short bob, no makeup; not a girly girl, fine lines around eyes; approximately late forties, two scars, four inches in length on neck; previous spinal cord compression, paint splattered overalls; inefficient and unskilled, rap music; poor taste, roller on an extended poll in hand and a tray of bright pink paint.
“Look here Miss?”
“Miss Alison of just Alison?”
For someone supposedly highly intelligent he was a bit slow on the uptake, but he was exceptionally alluring with it.
“Just Alison without the just in front; call…me…Alison,” I said with exaggerated pronunciation.
“Alison, I’m attempting to solve a high profile crime that impacts on British security and the safety of the Monarchy and the terms ‘hoe’ and ‘pimp’ belting up through my floorboards are outrageously distracting. I never had these issues with Watson.”
“Benedict, I’m trying to paint a room, you help me and I’ll help you.”
And so it was. Benedict, in sweat pants and a white slim fit t-shirt was rollering passion pink onto my walls whilst I painted the skirts white. I sang rap songs badly and Benedict frowned in disapproval; we were a match made in heaven. From time to time I glanced his way; he had pink sprinkles on his soft curling locks, he was barefooted and getting right into it; the wall was horribly patchy but who cares, Benedict painted it.
That night, in his dusty, dark sitting room, with all manner of oddities and inventions, I stretched out on Benedict’s brown leather couch and remained completely silent; it was excruciatingly hard.
Benedict’s mind was at work; he sat in the lotus position, completely still, his face beautifully motionless, his body tall and erect but an empty shell. Fascinating, he really could vacate his body and swipe into his mind library. How amazing.
We shared fish and chips smothered in tomato sauce and mayonnaise.
“Don’t worry about the washing up,” he said, “Mrs Hudson will deal with it.” I washed up though, it’s what friends do.
I rested my weary head on a tapestry cushion; it smelt of sandalwood and cigars. I breathed in the spicy aroma of Benedict; I think I was going to like living downstairs. I listened as Benedict played the violin badly; I’d get used to it I thought as I drifted off.
My eyes fluttered open, I was still in bed, virtually in the same position; I hadn’t gone anywhere. I was already missing Baker Street, particularly Benedict. I drifted tentatively to the bathroom endeavouring not to move my head unnecessarily. Turning the shower on I was about to wash that dream right out of my hair when pink sprinkles on my hair tips caught my eye. Flip. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to tell my husband, the kids, absolutely everyone, but who’d believe me? It was impossible, implausible and inconceivable. If I didn’t get the dinner going my husband would say in was bloody inconsiderate and inconvenient!
I spent the following day Googling ‘time travel’; it didn’t help, it was for boffins and geeks: theoretical physics, wormholes and paradoxes; Benedict I need you and your Sherlock brain! I wondered did my body actually physically move from one place to another; had my bed been empty when I was with Ben. Is he wondering where I am; did I just vanish from his couch? Or were there two of me like in a parallel universe. I wanted it to happen again but it didn’t, well, not for ages.
Travelling on the Piccadilly Line, listening to Maroon 5, my breathing became erratic; I think I was experiencing a panic attack. No longer in my seat, I was free falling into a black abyss. Bugger I’d miss my hospital appointment!
“You’ll be fine, stay calm, breath,” advised a random technician with, ‘The Choice’ labelled across his t-shirt. Sitting at the foot of a small set of black stairs headed with black curtains I exhaled deeply into a brown paper bag whilst the technician rubbed my back soothingly. I had barely regulated my breathing when I was propelled up the stairs.
With false confidence I ascended the stairs and brushed through the curtains; bright, startling lights immediately fazed me. I was squinting, blinking and rubbing my eyes. Oh Lord I wore drainpipe denims and a tight black t-shirt with “hot stuff” emblazoned across my breasts. Sugar! I had a tattoo; it was a black heart with TINKER across it. A sound technician placed a microphone in my hand. No. No. No. I don’t sing, I can’t sing, Benedict will vouch for that. I held the microphone cautiously as if it were a ticking time bomb. My family insisted I give up singing for lent that’s how tuneless I am. Looking around, guitarists, drummers, brass and backing singers were all focusing on me and waiting for my queue. A complete hush filled the auditorium. I looked directly ahead; four chairs. F***!
It began, my mouth moved, my hips swayed, my vocal was haunting and melodic, it gave me goose bumps; the audience were on their feet clapping and cheering me on. They liked me, they actually liked me! I was completely swept up in the moment. I felt incredible, empowered and invincible. I had a sexy attitude and I was on fire!
O.M.G.! The man voted ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ turned for me. Alison don’t panic now, keep singing, remember you are unique, you are remarkable. I did a Sherlock move and went to a place in my mind where I stored all my emotions and I charged them into my vocal. I focused on Adam, gazing deep into his hazel take me to bed eyes. Another chair turned; Sir John Jones, then another; Sita Okra, finally the last; Jam.i.e but I only had eyes for Mr Sexy. After I hit the last note and the musicians ceased being musical; I reverted to sixteen. Adam was the hottest boy in school and I was speechless.
“What’s your name?” he asked his eyes curiously assessing me.
How the hell should I know? Next question.
“What’s your story?”
Funny you should ask. I’m a time traveller and I have somehow absorbed the power of song, but I can’t speak. Adam and Alison has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? If we had kids we could call them Adrian and Alana. Bums, this is embarrassing. I managed to rummage up three small words which I breathlessly exhaled,
“I want Adam!”
Wimbledon! Crap, my stop. Mr Levine was a distant memory along with Benedict – shame. I was now in the moment with Novak Djokovic; mixed doubles finals against Venus Williams and Nadal. Oh dear, my husband would not be happy, I was under strict orders not to participate in physical activity. Sod that!
We were on a hard court, sliding into point after point; everyone a winner. My ‘number 1 in the world’ partner was his awesome, charismatic self and I was a phenomenon. I made every shot: slices, one-handed backhands, swinging volleys; my palms were stinging from high fives. Novak and I were completely in tune, although he was from Serbia and I from South Ruislip we spoke the same sweet language of win at all costs.
I was to serve for the title. Novak and I were huddled intimately together discussing strategy. The media were busy snapping away; tomorrow they’d be intimating that we were an item but no chance; I only had eyes for my husband. Okay perhaps they’d momentarily strayed to Benedict, then Adam, then ever so fleetingly to Novak but I’m over it now. It’s okay honey, I’m back on track.
Novak was calming me down and reassuring me. Forget the trophy, concentrate on the point. See it, feel it and believe it. I looked up to the supporters’ box, my husband was staring intently at me mouthing ‘you can do it Al, I know you can’. Of course I could. Taking a deep breath I tossed the ball high and hit it at 132m.p.h. Yes, I aced it. Novak and I, arms around each other, were jumping up and down, hollering and whooping and kissing.
“Same time next year, partner,” I laughed squeezing him tightly. I was climbing up to my husband in the supporters’ box when I travelled again.
I was in Ibiza, in a buzzing outside disco. I was eighteen physically but forty eight mentally and emotionally; the perfect combination. It was erotically hot, sweltering in fact. Boys wore very little and girls barely anything. I heard the beat; it was bouncing off the ground and up into the atmosphere. He was there, on the raised platform, draped with bikini clad model wannabes – C.H., songwriter, D.J. and producer, mega! I danced and jumped till sweat poured off me; I punched the air like I was knocking it out. I wasn’t self conscious; well you’re not in your forties are you? So I danced my heart out in just a lime green pair of shorts and a bright white bikini top, till I was gasping.
The makeshift bar was rocking with heaving men; did I want to get roughed up by a bunch of half naked, bawdy, sweaty Spaniards? I was seriously considering this question when an ice cold bottle of aqua was placed in my hand. I looked up, then up a bit further. No wayyyyyyyy. It was C.H., all 1.96 metres of him. He was ‘hench’ as my daughters would say. Our eyes locked and we shared one of those fleeting moments that you remember all your life. I was tempted to lean into his muscled chest and reach up and kiss him but I wouldn’t, I wasn’t a cougar; sorry Calvin I’m already taken – I have one of you at home he’s just shorter, wider and older. Laters baby.
Anyway I felt that I was officially as mad as a March hare. My mind kept playing tricks with me. Where was my bank card? Did I really put my keys in the fridge? Time travel plays havoc with ordinary life.
On that next occasion one minute I was in the lift heading toward North Wing, the next I was in a plush, private, elevator ascending to the penthouse. I studied myself in the wall to wall mirrors. I wore a floral dress, it had been in my wardrobe when I was about twenty; I loved it then and I loved it now. I spun round; wow I looked beautiful. The elevator doors opened.
“Good evening Miss Downey.”
“Good evening Mr Charcoal.”
Things were seriously hotting up! Oh dear, my Catholic schooling had not prepared me for him.
Alone, just me and the most eligible, drop dead dirty bachelor from contemporary fiction. It’s true he was exceptionally intimidating, extremely intense and extraordinarily beautiful. He gently touched my lips with his long, neatly clipped finger. Crap, his touch transmitted static to my hair; I’d morphed into Jedward.
My eyes darted repeatedly from him to the ceiling, back to him then to that corridor; the passageway to his play room. I burped nervously.
“May I call you Tristan because I feel as if I know you intimately (I did, I’d read all three books, slowly, very slowly)?
He nodded, his eyes set intently on mine. Hadn’t his mother told him a watched kettle never boils?
“This is not going to work, I don’t do naked; I still change under my towel when I go swimming. I’d love to be the girl for you, all submissive and panty but the only whip I’m interested in is one with a walnut on the top.”
“I could make you change your mind,” he whispered seductively in my ear. “Sign the contract, you know you want to.”
“Tristan, if I had to draw the perfect man I’d draw you but I’m more a Botticelli. Me, nudity, handcuffs, it would be awk-ward.”
He pulled his t-shirt off. I’m not looking, I’m not looking, if I don’t see his rippled torso with that taunt patchwork of muscle I’d be fine. Be strong Alison, be strong…I peaked; it was my undoing.
“I want to tie you up and love you hard.” I hate the f word so I’ve altered his response.
“Let’s do it! Okay, I’m empowering myself to agree to being submissive, it’s a choice, a decision. I am a willing participant. Show me the dotted line.”
I grabbed his hand and pulled him down the corridor; he stumbled after me. The play room was at the foot of the hallway. Half way down, I pushed him against the wall, pulled his hands above his head and kissed him senseless. Charcoal looked scared. He was tripping over his feet as I pulled him enthusiastically further down the corridor. Damn, this hallway went on forever. It was sterile white. It was enclosing around me. Oh dear Mr Tristan Charcoal had done a runner. Probably for the best, it would be hard to explain the restraint marks on my wrists and ankles to my husband.
Instead of being tethered and shackled by Mr Pain and Pleasure I am cocooned in a machine that scans my brain and crumbling spine. Don’t lose heart when you read this because I am truly exceptional, one of a kind in fact. I am Benedict’s housemate. I sing for votes on ‘The Choice’ with Adam in my corner. I rave with C.H. and alongside Novak I will defend our mixed doubles title because we are Wimbledon champions!
Okay, there’s no participating in multi-position trussing with Tristan Charcoal though, my husband completely drew the line at that one.
I’m not sad; really. Please don’t feel anxious for me or sympathy. As my body weakens my mind is evolving; this ability to teleport, to be anywhere in the world with anybody is literally a miracle. I am Alison and I am a time traveller. Believe it or don’t believe it; I’m too happy to care.