Just so I can say, “Um, Okay.”
There is a whole catalogue in my brain of moments when I failed to express myself for fear of looking foolish. Instead of speaking, I withered into myself and let the moment pass me by. If I had access to a time machine, these are the moments, in no particular order, I’d travel back to just so that I might speak a full word.
When I gave the barista a ten dollar bill, and she gave me back change as if I’d given her a five dollar bill. I said, “I believe you gave me the wrong change,” and she said, “No, I didn’t.” She made my drink, and I walked away poorer than I should have.
What I’d plan to say if I traveled back to this moment: Listen here, lady. I guarantee that when you count your till at the end of your shift, you’ll be six dollars over, and that’s because you didn’t give me the proper change just now. Then you’ll feel like a fool, won’t you? Now pay up or I’ll beat your ass.
What I’d actually say: Um. Okay. If you say so.
When my high school bully decided to start calling me “stink bomb,” even though I smelled very lovely at all times.
What I’d plan to say if I traveled back to this moment: Everyone knows that I don’t stink, so take your stupid nickname and shove it up your ass. Or you can meet me in the parking lot, bitch.
What I’d actually say: Hehe. Whatever. So funny.
When I fell in love with a handsome prince, so I went to the sea witch to turn my fins into legs, and then I wrapped myself up in a curtain and posed seductively on a rock, and he was like, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” But the sea witch took my voice, so I just nodded my head and didn’t say anything.
What I’d plan to say if I traveled back to this moment: I rescued you from drowning, and I think you’re really fine. Maybe take me up to your castle and we can talk about how compatible we are?
What I’d actually say: Nothing. (I’ll shrug and smile like a turtle.)
When I come back to the present in my time machine, hair frazzled and clothes askew, I’ll exhale and pump my fist into the air. Nailed it.