I was dreaming about a cave in Cornwall. If you are lucky enough to find it, you will meet your future self, or so the legend goes. I am here in a beautiful sunlit cave that goes through to the other side and surprised to find an old woman sitting on a ledge. She was wizened and thin with grey hair. I wondered how anyone this old could have climbed down this cliff to the cave. She must be ninety at least. When she turned to face me, I could see she had my eyes, black like coal my father used to say. Could this really be me in years to come?
“I lived a long life and hoped it was a good one.” She spoke in a tone of voice that I hear every day. “And that is why I am here to tell you. Don’t come any closer, to be in the same space would not be good for you. If we touch I could swap places with you and live all over again.”
I am nearing thirty and haven’t done much with my life. My childbearing days are slipping away. Maybe a swap wouldn’t be so bad. I could do so many things differently. I wanted to ask so many questions but they became jumbled in my head. She seemed to notice this. “There is nothing much I can tell you, we were not meant to meet this way.”
I could see she was sad. Had her life been lonely? My life, I should have said.
Her body was stooped with age. Is this what becomes of me? Old, sad and alone, I could see no ring on her finger, she had never married. Before I knew what I was doing, I flew at her, hoping it was true, that we would swap. I would be able to start my life again.
Her voice echoed around the walls. “You foolish thing, now you will have to find this cave in Cornwall to get your life back. My life was good. Yours has now changed. You may not like what you become.”
I awoke feeling the same as before, nothing had changed. Yet I wondered about the dream. I read a story like this when I was a child. Just a legend, I told myself. I wouldn’t have to go looking for a cave in Cornwall, would I?
A dream can’t change anything, I told myself. But as I passed the mirror, I split the air with a scream so loud I thought the mirror would break.
There she stood, my ninety-year-old self. Words whispered from the glass, “Come and find me…”