35-year-old me [knocking on window]: Abby! Abby!
15-year-old me [rising from a restless sleep and stumbling over piles of boots, jeans, and flannel shirts to open the window]: Oh my god! Are you me?
35: Yeah. Quick, let me in. I have stuff to tell you about the future.
15 [staring]: Are those wrinkles? [steps back] How much do you weigh?
35: That is a very rude question. Listen, I only have a few minutes. Are you gonna let me in or not?
15 [helping 35 in]: What… How old are you?
35: Thirty-five. And I don’t have much time because I was granted only a few minutes between feedings to come see you. So please shut up.
15: Feedings? Do we have a horse?
35: For god’s sake, NO! A baby, dipshit!
15: A BABY?! At thirty-FIVE?
35: Yes, a baby. Now listen. I have some important things to tell you. First, you need to let go of your current obsession. He doesn’t like you.
15 [crestfallen]: He doesn’t?
35: No. But don’t take it personally; he’s gay.
15: Gay? You mean like, homosexual? [confused] We have those in our school?
35 [rolls eyes, puts head in hands]: Christ in a handcart. Yes. And your best friend? Whom you’re planning to marry? Also gay. Which relates to why I’m here. You are too much of a planner. You need to let life happen, Abby. You’re making things harder for yourself by trying to control everything.
15 [not paying attention]: William and Harry* are gay?
35: Honey, the signs are all there. Remember the eighth grade talent show when William dry humped the stage to Madonna’s “Express Yourself”?
15: Dry hump?
35 [ignoring her]: And how Harry says everything is “fabulous”? And how he’s always late coming to hang out with you because he says he “ran out of gas”?
35: “I ran out of gas” is code for “I was giving a blow job to that guy over on Leeds Avenue.”
15 [sits]: This is all very overwhelming.
35: OK, I can see that I’m traumatizing you. Look, you will find the love of your life eventually, I promise. But I won’t lie to you. The next two decades of dating and relationships are not going to be pretty. They’re going to be like… a sickening carnival ride. It will start out fun, but as you age, the carnival will grow more and more sinister, and each revolution less and less tolerable, until you want to vomit and swear off carnivals forever.
35: Try to think of it as an adventure. You’ll travel the country. The world, even. You’ll learn about new things, like Touvan throat singing. And Czech military aircraft. And scuba diving. And cat breeding. And making art out of twigs.
35: There are going to be quite a few breakups. You’ll feel afraid and alone and completely adrift, and sometimes so guilty you want to die. Once, you’ll fall sobbing off your desk chair onto the carpet, which will prompt your mother to remark, “Remember, honey, you can’t solve your problems with alcohol.”
15: [whispering] My god.
35: After every ending, you will think you just can’t take another. But you will, and your husband will be worth it. So I need you not to lose hope.
15: Can you tell me who my husband is?
35: I shouldn’t. But I can tell you it’s someone you’ve already met.
15 [eagerly]: It is?
35: Yes. But you’ll lose touch, and you won’t see each other again until years later, when he friends you on Facebook and you agree to meet up at Starbucks.
15: [looks bewildered]
35: Oh. Uh, Starbucks is a coffee house. It has a strange and mystical power that you’ll understand one day when you learn to like the taste of coffee. Trust me. You’ll spend a lot of money there.
15: What’s a face book?
35: Well, in the future, you can…use a computer to talk to people. [glances at Brother® word processor on desk] It’s hard to explain. Look, my time is almost up. There’s one other thing I want you to know. Can you remember this word? Zoloft.
35: [climbing out window] Good girl. [turning back] Oh! And save all that flannel. Lumbersexual is gonna go big in 20 years.
* To protect the innocent, real names have been changed to the names of Welsh princes.