(///clean.wider.both – Big Ben, London, UK)
“Henry, you’ve done it again!” Henry’s friends slapped him on the back, congratulating him on the annual success of his party trick. Henry smiled a little sheepishly. If only they knew.
But how could he tell them? They would hardly believe that his yearly bravado of perfectly fulfilling his New Year’s resolutions had actually been accomplished by cheating.
Years before, his experiments in the space time continuum had produced a tiny rip. He used it to pass himself an envelope with that year’s highlights expressed as resolutions, retrieving it the year before he actually sent it. He then gave the unopened envelope to a friend for safekeeping and it would be unsealed twelve months later to great acclaim, his friends none the wiser that he had actually written and sent it that very day.
He always enjoyed seeing what his future self had selected – ‘This year I will watch Liverpool win at Manchester United; This year, a man in a green hat will offer to clean my shoes; This year I will go to a gallery opening and be served a sandwich containing both meat and fish’. They were mostly trivial things, in keeping with his life really, where using his complex scientific breakthrough to be the star of his social gatherings had proved more important than publishing his findings for the world to see.
Then one New Year’s Eve, the envelope didn’t arrive.
Henry slumped down in a chair. He knew what it meant.
At the party that night, as his friends congratulated him on being treated to a surprise pilchard fishing trip and being sent a wider hat than he had ordered from a catalogue, he said he would break with tradition. “I’m going to tell you my single resolution this year, rather than hiding it,” he declared.
They listened dutifully.
“Next year, I am going to live every day as it if it might be my last.”
“Bravo,” they shouted, and vigorously shook his hand. “What a year that’ll be. We can’t wait to hear the stories of what you’ve got up to this time next year!”
Henry smiled weakly. He knew that his resolution was true. And more than anything, he wished he could have joined his friends to talk about it all on the next New Year’s Eve.