I was all of fourteen, applying a healthy coat of Noxema to my pimpled face, when the strangest thing happened. The mirror became cloudy, though I wasn’t running the hot water in the sink or shower. As the fog cleared a bit, I noticed a face in it that was very familiar, but somehow different.
“Hey, kid,” the older version of me said.
I jumped back, startled and exhilarated at the same time. “How the heck did you..?”
“Shut up, Don. I’ve only got a few minutes. Through an experimental technological advance I stumbled upon in the year 2015, I was able to tune in to your frequency.”
“Butt my ass! Hush up and listen.”
The man in the mirror was handsome, though his hair had become gray in some places. His eyes had seen things that would unravel in my future. I listened to every word he said.
“…And two more things,” he told me. “For one, there are no flying cars like they’ve been promising. You can work on developing a highway system that can handle those. It’ll make you filthy rich. Secondly, don’t change anything about yourself. You are perfect in your imperfections. Other than a few missteps, you’ll be just fine. I could tell you what those are, but then you wouldn’t learn the lessons that will make you a better man.”
“Wow,” I said, my voice cracking slightly. I was still in the throes of an awkward adolescence.
“If you don’t remember anything else, remember the last thing I told you. The mistakes will come; it’s how you bounce back from them that will make all the difference. Focus on learning the lessons.”
“Thanks,” I said to the dapper gentleman with the wizened grin.
As I wiped the glass, he disappeared as if he was never there. I wondered if he’d been a figment of my imagination, except for one thing: he told me who my wife was going to be. I made it a point to ensure that she would be treated like a queen when the time came.
I thought about those flying cars and the highway system that could handle them. I was due to elect my classes for the coming school year. I would ensure I gravitated to the sciences and brushed up on my math. I had virtual roads to build and an awesome life ahead of me.