Life’s embarrassments never end

Life’s embarrassments never end

Time-traveling is a lot like eating. I get a hankering to visit a particular person/event, like I need a pastrami sandwich right away. Today I felt compelled to go back in time to Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17th, 1862 – the Civil War battle of Antietam. This was an embarrassing attempt to confront one of my greatest crushes –  the famous nurse, Clara Barton.

I had to wander around in great peril on the battlefield in search for Clara. It was as bad as you can imagine. I’d rather not go into detail because I’m still rattled. Eventually I found my way to the Union hospital tent. There she was, glowing like the Sun on its first day of work.

I was overcome and almost backed out, but when time-traveling, you need to be bold, like you’re supposed to be where you are in time, otherwise time will spot an anomaly, and crush you like a Dixie-cup under a bull’s hoof.

I went up to her and said, “Nurse Clara?” She looked up from assisting a surgery and said, “Yes?” I hesitated for a moment as I noticed:  her white dress was blood-spattered, and smelled like rotting meat; the patient on the table was screaming, while blood spurted up between Clara and I like a fountain in a park; a mortar exploded next to the tent, tearing away half the canvas, obliterating a handful of convalescing soldiers. In my distraction, I felt the walls of time pushing in, threatening to smite me.

I gained back my courage, leaned forward, and kissed Clara Barton. I felt nothing. How could this be? I’d been imagining “sky rockets in flight.”

I apologized to Clara, saying I misjudged our distance, and that I was there to help assist with the wounded. I sensed that she knew otherwise, and that I hadn’t been the first to be so blatantly impudent.

She put me to work picking up amputated legs and arms from the floor. And so it goes.

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