Did you accidentally trigger the wrong location? If you wanted to pursue Grandma to the rock pools, follow the map to TB14 to continue your chosen adventure.
The Table Of Knowledge, Rainbow Bay
Billy Rak leads you around Greenmount Point to Rainbow Bay and motions towards a picnic table, inviting you to sit. “This here is the Table of Knowledge, it’s where we come to yarn and solve the world’s problems. What’s yours?” he asks casually.
You spill out your whole unlikely story. Grandma, Grandpa, your mission to get them together, how much all this will change in the next few decades. The high-rise, the tourist hordes. When you’ve finished, giddy and spent from the effort, Billy is smiling at your warmly.
“Look youngster, I’ve heard it all over the years and nothing surprises me any more so if you say you’ve time-travelled through the CWA Hall to match-make your grandparents I don’t doubt it for a second. You seem like an honest sort of character to me.”
You’re dumbfounded, never imagining anyone would believe this crazy tale for a moment.
“But one thing I do know,” Billy Rak continues, “is you don’t need to travel through time to experience the magic of this place. “ He throws out a gesturing arm, taking in the whole idyllic sweep of Rainbow Bay. “If you’re here, on the beach, and the sun is shining and the waves are breaking and dolphins are frolicking, it is the good old days. It’s always the good old days. And even if all this changes like you say, if you turn your back on the land, look out to sea at those millions of sparkling jewels playing on the surface of the ocean, it’s the same as it ever was.” You follow Billy’s gaze out to sea.
“And one other thing, I was never too bright at school but one thing I do recall from Year 10 science class is that matter can’t be created or destroyed, just transformed. So, relax. If you can’t get back your old life, you’re not about to just disappear into the ether. There’ll be another life, maybe a better one, just waiting for you.”
With that, like some kind of ancient sage or oracle, Billy gets up and walks back towards Greenmount Point, as if he has other appointments to issue profound life wisdom to random passersby.
Well, a fat lot of good that did you! You wonder what sort of advice he dispensed to Grandma and Grandpa back in the day, they always raved about their conversations with him, and now you’re wondering if they weren’t a little… out of it when they had their ‘chats’.
You can feel your essence fading but rather than vanishing you seem to dissolve and take shape in a new form, as if you’ve just had an especially vigorous chiropractic adjustment to your cellular structure. You get up and look around at the surfers and beachgoers and families picnicking and young kids forming an unruly mosh pit in the playground. The cars, the surfboards, the clothes, the high-rise. It suddenly hits you. You’re back in the present day.
Behind you there’s a distinctive, brightly-coloured backpacker van parked tail-first in a beachfront parking spot, with a fit, young Brasilian surfer toweling off at the back of the van. He looks up and appears to recognise you.
He’s speaking in an animated, Portuguese babble that you’re amazed to discover you understand.
“Hey, where you been? The waves are pumping. You should get out there,” Ricardo says, for you realise with a start that you know this swarthy, olive-skinned chap’s name already.
You’re even more amazed to discover that you answer back in fluent Portuguese. “Sorry, I just went for a walk across to Greenmount. Waves are bit smaller there. Might go out here instead.”
In a flash you realise old Billy Rak was right. Just because Grandma and Grandpa never got together it doesn’t mean that you never existed. What was it Billy said? Matter can never be created or destroyed, just transformed.
Your soul has still come into the world, just in a different guise and it would appear that this time round your guise is that of a young Brasilian backpacker/surfer. You shrug. There could be worse fates, after all. If you are here at the beach, it is the good old days.
Welcome to your new life. Enjoy.