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Moments

An Ottawa teacher by day, Brandon Crilly has been previously published by PULP Literature, On Spec, The 2017 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, and Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation. He received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards, reviews fiction for BlackGate.com and develops programming for Can-Con in Ottawa. You can find Brandon at brandoncrilly.wordpress.com or on Twitter @B_Crilly.
At 11:17 a.m. on my third day,
I saw you across the quad
But you disappeared before I could reach you.
At 4:55 p.m. in 1919,
One of Clemenceau's aides got in my way
And you were gone again.
At 8:23 p.m. in 1604,
You smiled at me in the Globe
When I said, "So Shakespeare did exist."
At 9:31 p.m. in 1935,
The Mahatma made you blush.
I have the photo to prove it.
At 10:54 a.m. in 1763,
Convincing Catherine that I was Voltaire
Was not fair payback, and you know it.
At 7:03 a.m. in 2001,
I stopped you from saving someone,
Knowing you might never speak to me again.
At 1:58 p.m. on my nineteenth day,
We convinced you it was still worth it.
My motives were selfish.
At 4:40 p.m. in 50 BCE,
I proved you're more beautiful than Cleopatra,
Just to make you smile again.
At 12:01 a.m. in 1420,
We wrote our names on a boulder
And promised it we'd visit later.
At 6:28 p.m. on my thirty-fourth day,
You talked me out of going forward
Since for us, now matters more than someday.
At 9:42 a.m. in 1955,
I skateboarded around a clocktower.
At least you got the joke.
At 2:12 p.m. in 1770 BCE,
I shouldn't have dared you
To offer Hammurabi a fake eye as trade.
At 3:15 p.m. in 1851,
We kissed under the Crystal Palace
And told Charlotte Bronte not to stare.
At 6:43 a.m. in 1355,
I lost sight of you for a moment
But that moment mattered more than any other.
At 5:09 p.m. someday later,
They convinced me to stop searching
But I shouldn't have listened.
At 11:10 a.m. on some other me's first day,
I wanted to stop you crossing the quad
Even though it doesn't work that way.
At 12:01 a.m. in 2004,
I fulfilled the promise to our boulder
Knowing someday it won't be there.
At 8:18 p.m. on my last day,
Breaking every law was worth it
To see you smile in the Globe again.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018


Ideas sometimes come from strange places. "Moments" actually originated with a yearbook comment I wrote for one of my students in June (2017). There was a running joke in class where every time I said something like, "Don't worry, I won't change the date of the test," this student would pull out her phone and say, "So at this time, on this date, you said this"--basically pretending to keep a record to hold me to my word, since too many teachers didn't keep theirs, in her experience. I came up with the structure of "Moments" on the fly when I was scribbling in her yearbook, and then realized it would be an awesome structure for an actual story. The time travel narrative came naturally, and the rest of the story followed. And since this is my first ever DSF story, I'm dedicating "Moments" to my students and colleagues at Merivale High School, who gave me no shortage of inspiration and entertainment.

- Brandon Crilly

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