We met at the wrong time. I was heartbroken and depressed when I got to know her, afraid of opening myself up to the possibility of being hurt again. Patiently, she stood by me, sharing herself with me, waiting for my wounds to eventually heal.
I found her beautiful, intelligent and funny. We shared a lot of interests. Even if we didn’t necessarily agree on everything, we tended to agree on the important things. She loved me, and though I wanted to, I could not love her back.
Eventually I felt that, given my inability to reciprocate her feelings, it would be in her best interest if I cut the ties between us. At the time my heart and mind were not in the right place to romantically love anyone and I felt the only way to fix the hole in my heart was to do it alone. I told her that I wasn’t sure if I could ever love her. Though I was being honest, it was a terrible thing to say, especially to her.
She wanted to stay together. I told her I needed to find happiness on my own. I assured her I didn’t want to be with anyone else and told her that, when I felt I was ready to be with someone, she would be the first person that I looked to. I told her that if the opportunity presented itself, she would find the love that she deserved. Even if it wasn’t with me.
After a few months, I felt like my old self. I called her and left a message apologizing for my actions and asking her to call me. I received no reply until a month later, when she sent me an email. She explained that she was attempting to move on. I asked her for forgiveness, she explained that she could not grant me pardon without undoing all of the work she had done to get over us. She told me that she felt nothing for me and did not wish engage in further correspondence.
One day, she dropped in on me at work. I was overjoyed to see her again. She gave me a hug and asked me if I wanted to get together and talk. We made plans to meet that Friday. The timing was finally right. I was going to get the opportunity to start over and go about things the right way with her. I was ready to give her the love that she deserved.
Friday night came and went. She never showed up. I have not spoken with or seen her since that day at work.
Any opportunity I had to get back together with her has passed. Any chance to make atonement for my actions is gone. She had offered me her love and I had refused it. When I was finally felt that I was ready to love her it was too late. She has moved on and, as much as I may want to, I cannot rewind time.
In Braid, you play as a man named Tim who, unlike me, does have the ability to rewind time and, by extension, the ability to fix the errors he makes in the game. The story is that he is trying to rescue The Princess, who has been “snatched by a horrible and evil monster because Tim made a mistake.” Though he has the ability to manipulate time, Tim is unable to use it to repair the damage he has done to his relationship with The Princess. Braid made me reflect on the girl who finds it too painful to forgive me for my mistakes. Though Braid made me feel remorse for the choices I have outlined above, and my inability to redress them, I appreciate the game’s power to make me contemplate such things. Even if I cannot turn back time and mend the wounds I have inflicted, I can learn not to make the same mistakes again.
Video games give us the opportunity to do things that we don’t get to do in real life. As great as it is to hunt for treasure in Tibet, destroy every man-made structure on Mars or do some detective work in Arkham Asylum, I am most drawn to the world presented in Braid, as it’s a world in which I may have the opportunity to obtain the absolution for Tim that I can only hope to someday be granted in my own life.