It was reckless, but I had nothing left to lose, and if I was right, everything to gain.
As he stepped off the train, I accosted him, rudely.
“You’ve trodden on my shoe, sir.”
He stepped back, knowing well he’d done no such thing.
“I’m most sorry sir.”
As he made to pass by, I stepped in front of him.
“It was freshly polished.”
I’d moved from inconvenience to annoyance, meaning, he took notice of me as a person, not only a noise in his way. Looking down, he could tell my shoes hadn’t been polished in a very long time.
“That is difficult to believe, sir. Let me pass.”
“You’ll pay the tuppence to have them shined again.”
“Tuppence? If you paid a ha’penny for that shine you were diddled. I, on the other hand, will not be.”
“Pay, sir. Or shall I call a constable?”
“Step aside. Let me pass. I have business to attend to, fool.”
Of course, I didn’t step aside, and of course, he drew back his fist and hit me, hard, in the face.
I knew my grandfather’s temper. I knew my grandmother’s eventual abhorrence of it. I knew that if she saw it, from just over there where she awaited her prospective (but not anymore) husband, she would leave the station and never look back, as she’d always told me after his unmourned death.
What I didn’t know, when I shifted painfully through the ether of time from early 2019 to the date of their meeting in 1937, was whether preventing their meeting would, in fact, alter my physical existence as one of their progeny.
As I said, nothing to lose.
But now, knowing what I know, everything to gain.