He opened his eyes, but otherwise didn’t move.
“Mister Darien, do you know where you are?”
He glanced around. He couldn’t move. A woman in a lab coat stared at him. Though not unfriendly, the whole room seemed sterile, clinical. A hospital?
“Mister Darien, can you hear me?”
“Mister Darien, you’ve been through a shock. But I have to ask you this. What year is it? Do you remember what year it is?”
He furrowed his brow and finally croaked out an answer. “1942.”
The woman frowned. He watched her shuffle to some strange high-tech gadgets. She sounded American. But this room, this technology, it seemed so, well, foreign.
“How…” he began, but no more words would come. He felt so drained, so tired. So old.
She nodded. “You were in an accident. Do you remember any of it?”
He strained at the thought. He could feel the rumble of the plane, hear the flak exploding all around. He could see Bains and Ennis heading for the door, ready to jump.
“I’m right behind you!” he remembered shouting, struggling to retighten his parachute rig, then he, too, went to the door and he saw first Bains and then Ennis, torn apart by enemy fire almost before they had a chance to pull open their chutes, then the Lieutenant grabbing him before he could make the leap, shouting at him, telling him the plans had changed, and he could see them shut the door.
But wait. He’d made it. The plane landed safely. Then he could see Becky, her face, their wedding, the kids, he could see their three kids, and the beach house and then his daughter’s wedding and all those years at Upton’s Department Store and his retirement party and he could see the road, the rain-slicked road, and Becky beside him, and his struggle to keep the car on the road, and he felt so old, and he could hear her scream and he looked up at the doctor and now he remembered.
“Becky?” he asked.
The doctor shook her head. “I’m sorry.”
He closed his eyes to 2010 and leaped out of the plane.