“How do I choose what I will do with my life? How do I know what consequences those choices will have for me ten, twenty years down the road?”
The slender, brown-eyed girl frowned at the reflection in the mirror. She had received three acceptance letters from college in the mail that afternoon, and had opened them all and pored over the descriptions of each school and majors yet again. She still couldn’t decide. One had the advantage of being close to home - but it would be nice to get away from her family and try her wings out. Another was a prestigious school, but it would be expensive. The third hadn’t really been an option at first, but was where her boyfriend planned to attend.
She closed her eyes. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall...” she muttered. Magic would be nice, of course - a fairy god mother to wave a wand and tell her what to do to find her happily ever after. She opened her eyes and did a double take.
The girl spun around in shock at the plump, short-haired woman who stood behind her in the mirror reflection. She was alone in her bedroom. She looked back at the mirror. There was still a woman standing just behind her left shoulder. She was grinning at her.
“Wha - Who!” she stammered. The woman chuckled. “Are you my fairy godmother?”
Now the woman laughed. “No, I’m your older and wiser self. Hello young lady.”
The younger shook her head in bemusement. “How?”
“Oh, that will become clear later, but I won’t tempt paradox.”
“Getting quite journalistic in your questions, good girl. I am here to offer a tiny bit of guidance.”
“You’re going to tell me where to go to college.”
The older version looked quite shocked. “Not at all, that would bring a paradox right down on us. Merely a hint, is all. How many acceptances so far?”
“Five. The last three came in today.”
“Lay them out on your bed.”
The younger turned and collected the pile of letters and laid them out edge to edge along her pink comforter. She looked back at the mirror, where the older woman was leaning forward as if to see.
“The third one from the foot of the bed. Start there, and count off the ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe ryhme.”
Obediently she bent over the letters, touching each one in turn, cycling back around as she counted. When she finally picked up the letter that was it, she turned to look back at the mirror. The apparition was gone. She looked down at the letter she held. The college was one she hadn’t considered in her top three. It specialized in maths and science. The young woman looked back at the still-empty mirror and realized that the counting rhyme had a set sequence. Her elder self had chosen the school for her as surely as if she had pointed to it and stated “That’s the one.”
Sweeping the other letters onto the floor, the young woman flopped onto her bed and wondered about the possibility of quantum time travel. She fell asleep dreaming of a laughing pair of eyes that were her own.
Writing for the Indie Ink writing challenge! I was challenged this week by Tara R with "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" and I challenged http://writinginthemarginsburstingattheseams.blogspot.com/ with "Part-Time Husband".