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Old 01-18-2004, 04:24 AM   #1
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Alternate timeline

hi. this story i've written is kind of wierd, and i didnt post all of it because it gets even weirder. basically this is wondering what would have happened if U2 had broken up very early on.
the main character Annie is my alternate-universe counterpart. Its kind of far-fetched. i know.
i just wanted to know what people thought of this. if its confusing just ask.
Ok. here goes:

Annie Tolzman woke up.
She reviewed the schedule for that day as she scrambled out of the mosquito net. Get dressed, comb hair, brush teeth, English, Math, come home, grab breakfast and…her heart nearly stopped…piano books. Go to Mr. Hewson’s house for piano lesson. She swallowed as the blood rushed to her face. “Uncle” Paul’s face loomed before her mind’s eye. She had a familiar warm, tingling sensation that turned cold when she envisioned him kissing Aunt Ali. Annie blushed more deeply and thought about Mr. Hewson, as she always did, while she got ready for school.
Her flip-flops flipped red Zairian dust onto her legs as she tromped across the road and down the trail across the huge rectangle of shorter savannah grass. She brooded, as she always did, and barely mumbled a response when greeted with “mbote” on the path. She barely noticed when she stepped onto the jungle trail and when she emerged from the jungle onto Academy property, until the bell rang.
“Oh shoot!” She ran as fast as she could down the hill and past the dorm to her first period class. Late again.
“Sorry,” she mumbled to Mr. Berglund as she sat down between Mary, her official best friend, and Hannah, another friend, one of the smarter juniors and the only non-senior in the class. Joe and Matt, the entire male portion of the senior class at the Academy, snickered. Laura, the remainder of the class, barely glanced up at Annie and continued writing. Mr. Berglund sighed as he glanced at his watch.
“Annie,” he said, “you need to start riding your bike.”
“Sorry,” Annie mumbled again. She opened her folder for English, full of poems written from an angst-ridden heart “in love.” Mr. Berglund handed back their comprehension assignment. Annie sighed—another C.
Fortunately for Annie, that day was a free-writing day. She creased her brow as she began another love tirade on the clean white paper. It was about her music teacher again, of course, but no one knew, not even Mary…who was leaning over to see Annie’s paper.
“It’s Joe, isn’t it?” Mary teased.
“I’m not telling,” whispered Annie.
“How couldn’t it be Joe, you keep talking about his blue eyes…” Annie blushed. Mary jumped on that. “Aha! I knew it! You like Joe!”
“No I don’t! There’s plenty of guys around here who…”
“Ladies,” interrupted Mr. Berglund, “let’s focus on our own assignments.”
Math was a blur. Finally it was time for morning break. Annie raced back to the duplex, grabbed her piano books and a slice of banana bread, and ate the banana bread on her walk to the Hewsons’ house. To the elementary school and to the left, past the Youngs’ house, was the house that Paul and Ali Hewson had made their own since 1988. All four of their children had been born there. Formerly it had been known as “Moyibi Heights” (moyibi meaning “thief” in Lingala, the native trade language) since it had been frequented by thieves until Ali, by hook or by crook, had made the house theft-free since 1990.
Aunt Ali was in the kitchen when Annie came up to the screen door and said “Ko ko ko?” Ali let her in, and Annie noticed there was a sound of a piano being hammered at, first one note banged several times and then the other, and then the first one again. It must have been 5-year-old Eli or even 2-year-old John. Annie was proud to recognize the two notes as B-flat and A-flat. She smiled and walked to the room where the piano was. She was surprised to see it was not a little boy at the piano, but Mr. Hewson himself.

Paul Hewson had been up since 5:45 that morning, after waking up from a dream where he saw Adam again. Paul would have been ecstatic to see his old friend again, but Adam was drowning in the murky waters of Lake Kwada. Paul was at the end of the old paddle boat but couldn’t quite reach Adam’s hand.
“Bono!” Adam was calling when he could breathe in between going down in the water. “Bono!”
Paul could see the two sticks tied in the shape of a cross, stuck on the bank in a place where a child had drowned long ago, out of the corner of his eye. Suddenly he had had Adam’s hand for about one second, but something had been pulling at the drowning man in the other direction. Paul had lost hold and Adam had gone completely under.
And hadn’t come back up.
Paul had stared at the water, wondering why he had lost Adam yet again, and why Adam had been pulled under, the minnows in Kwada certainly weren’t strong enough to do that. Then he had seen an orange glow under the water. The water had gotten very hot and the bottom of the boat had melted and Paul had fallen into the boiling lake. He had screamed in pain, but the water had gargled the sound when he had gone under. He had struggled to the surface and saw that the water was forming a whirlpool, and it was pulling him in. He cried out for help but he saw no one around. He was sucked into the vortex and into the pit at the bottom of the lake. He saw a clown wearing horns and laughing, and somehow Paul had known it was himself. He had screamed again and woken up.
“Baby? Baby!” Paul had heard Ali’s voice whispering to him as he came to.
It was another dream, like many he’d had since Adam…since 1985…he didn’t like to even think about it. And like some of the dreams, it made him wonder if he would have to pay for letting Adam slip through his fingers…
But he had nearly forgotten about all that by the time of Annie’s lesson. Somehow, for some reason, he began tapping out the guitar part of “I Will Follow”—a song from the only album his old band U2 had put out—on the piano.
The door opened. Annie just stood there, blushing.
“Hello, Annie,” said Paul.
“Hi, Mr. Hewson,” she replied softly.
“Are you all right? Your face looks flushed.”
“I’m all right.”
He moved over on the bench and Annie sat down. She played a scale and then the first piece she was working on.
“That’s very good, Annie,” he said, “but I see you’re having trouble with the B section. Try this fingering…” he wrote some numbers above the notes… “like this…” he placed her fingers on the right keys. Annie blushed again, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes.
“Are you tired?” he said.
“What? Oh! Umm…I just like to play like that.”
“I still think you look flushed. Here.” He felt her forehead and cheeks for temperature. This only made her blush more deeply. “I’m not a doctor, but I think you need to ask your mom and dad about it.” (Both of Annie’s parents were doctors.)
“Uncle Paul, I’m fine,” Annie said, not sure if that was true.
“All right.” There was a pause. “Weren’t you writing a new piece last week?”
“Uh, yeah!” said Annie, and pulled out the scribbled music paper from her folder.
“Would you like to play it for me?”
“Okay…” She set the music on the stand and her fingers on the keys. This was her best piece yet…she had written about 10 so far. The melody sang out and the accompaniment fluttered like Annie’s heart did whenever she saw Mr. Hewson.

Annie lay in her bed that night and stared at the darkened ceiling, thinking about when she had first met “Uncle” Paul. She was very little then, and his hair had been longer. She remembered once she tried to play with it. Her parents told her not to, but he didn’t seem to mind too much.
She remembered the day that she first decided she had a crush on Mr. Hewson. She wasn’t sure why, but she was thirteen, and she looked into his eyes, those blue eyes, and got a warm, tingling sensation all over her body. And every time after that when she looked at him, she felt the same way, and every day, it seemed, she discovered some new reason to like him. This infatuation became an obsession when she turned 14. She remembered a dream she had had then. They were sitting at a piano lesson and he took her face in his hands and kissed her. She cherished that dream in her heart, yet she also knew it must be wicked to want to kiss another woman’s husband.
Now, every day, and every hour, she thought of her music teacher. She couldn’t stop. Sometimes she liked it, sometimes she wished she could stop. She never told a soul about it, but she filled her English folder with poems and such about him, kept vague enough that no one else could tell really who they were about.
My raven darling, my sparrow,
Let me fly in the blue sky that is your eyes
I am struck with Cupid’s arrow
And I fall. I fantasize
Of your kiss, your lips,
Glorious as an eclipse.
Okay, that wasn’t the best poem ever written, but she tried. Mary kept asking who they were about, and kept guessing. Annie wouldn’t tell, for what would happen if she did and Mary started dropping hints? As she always did. You couldn’t trust her with secrets.
Meanwhile, Annie veritably worshipped Mr. Hewson and hung on every word he spoke. Her face lit up whenever she saw him, and she wondered if he had figured out her deepest secret. She had a tendency to glace repeatedly and oddly at Ali and the Hewson children. She wondered if Ali would be as kind to Annie if Ali knew Annie was madly in love with her husband. Was it love, though, or was it . . . lust? Sometimes Annie felt guilty and ashamed of her feelings. She knew that surely God could see her thoughts, and how could He be pleased by a teenage girl coveting Ali Hewson’s husband? Annie was constantly afraid they would have some kind of affair, or maybe just a kiss, and everything would fall apart, and it would all be Annie’s fault. Yet how could that happen? To Annie, Mr. Hewson was an absolute saint. She never would have told anyone that she thought he was perfect, but deep down, that is what she thought.
(Annie really had no idea.)

It all came to a head one day as the guilt and shame filled 18-year-old Annie’s head, and she was frustrated that she wanted Mr. Hewson—could think of no one and nothing else—and couldn’t have him, and she felt too that she must be full of sin because she wanted him, another woman’s husband. She couldn’t be with him…and she couldn’t live without him.
“Without or without you,” she thought, and then, “Someone oughtta write a song called that.”
She picked up her diary and wrote,
“February 28, 2003. I can no longer stand the Paul David issue. I must find some way out…I can’t run away—then I would be without Paul David. My love/lust will still haunt me… I have thought of suicide. I can’t stand the thought of knives or broken glass, but a little ant poison should do it. It probably tastes sweet, that’s why the ants go for it...or maybe a little phostoxin in chocolate mousse; I love chocolate mousse. Sweet death…”
Annie carefully plotted her own demise. She would leave a will of course, and a suicide note. She must do something special beforehand. During spring break, a few families were planning to go to Bangui, the capital of the nearby Central African Republic. One was Annie’s; another was the Hewsons. She would have a great time there, go shopping (and buy nice clothes to die in), go swimming, eat out, spend as much time with Mr. Hewson as possible, and the last night would be her very last…she would confess to Mary (whose family was going along as well) that she had a raging crush on Mr. Hewson, and at the stroke of midnight…poisoned chocolate mousse. She would, of course, have to leave a warning note and leave the container out of a child’s reach.

Annie flipped through racks of dresses until she found one that was mostly black, and she held it in front of her to see how it might fit.
“Annie, what is up with all the black? Black shoes, black tights, black pants, black blouse…now this. You going goth or something?”
“Oh, no,” said Annie, “in fact, I didn’t even notice they were all black,” she lied. One more sin on the ol’ rap sheet. “I just thought they were nice.”
She went to the dressing rooms, where Uncle Paul was standing outside. Probably waiting for Ali.
“Hello, Annie,” he said, smiling.
“Hi, Mr. Hewson,” she said timidly, feeling her face turn hot. She went into a stall and leaned on the mirror.
She didn’t expect it to give way.
But I did.
I leaned back and fell into the other universe, the universe where I—or my alternate universe counterpart--was still in Africa and U2 didn’t last long. I didn’t know that yet, of course. I was just stepping into the unknown.
I got up and looked around. I put on the dress—an almost perfect fit—and stepped out into the world.
I walked out of the dressing room. To my right, I heard a voice say, “You look lovely, Annie.”
“Thanks,” I said, and turned to see who it was. I did a double take…I had seen that face before, just never in person. “Whoa…you look like Bono.”
“Whoa, that looks nice, Annie,” said Mary. I whirled around. I knew Mary.
“Mary? Oh, hi,” I said, and then whirled back to face the man.
“What did you just say?” he said to me in a hushed tone.
“Oh…that you look like, uh, Bono.”
He looked at Mary. “Would you excuse us a moment, Mary?” He put a hand on my shoulder and led me away.
“Annie,” he said looking me in the eye, “how do you know about Bono?”
“Oh! Uh…you know me?”
“Annie, what are you talking about? Of course I…you are Annie Tolzman, aren’t you?”
“Oh, yeah, but…well, I blew my cover, so I might as well break it to you…I am Annie Tolzman, but not the Annie you know.”
“Annie, that’s not funny! Be serious!”
“I am being serious, Bono…you are Bono, aren’t you?”
“How do you know about Bono?!”
“Oh, in my universe you’re famous.”
“Your universe? What are you talking about? How do you know about Bono? Did you talk to Ali?”
“Ali?” I said, “Oh, yeah…”
“There you are, Baby,” came a woman’s voice. “I was looking for you.”
“Whoa,” I said, “you’re Ali Hewson.”
“I’m sorry honey,” said Bono. “Ali, you didn’t talk to anyone about the band, did you?”
“Of course not, Baby,” she replied, a bit worried, and giving me a funny look, “not a word since we agreed not to talk about it.”
“Then how do you—“ he began, looking at me confusedly.
“I think I need to explain something here,” I said. “I’m from an alternate universe, and I’m not joking, either. I’m Annie’s counterpart in that universe. In my universe, you’re famous—you’re a rock star. Named Bono. What happened here? I mean, how come you’re acting so secretive about your nickname?”
“Annie, I don’t know how you found out about my past…”
“I told you, I’m from an alternate universe. In my universe anyone could look you up on the Internet and find out tons of stuff about your past. You’re fair game.”
“What?! Like what kind of stuff?”
“Your parents are Bob and Iris Hewson, but if I’m not mistaken, Iris died when you were fourteen…”
“Well, I know you know that, but…you know about U2?”
“Yup.”
“How?”
“I told you…you’re famous. I might have first heard about U2 in TV guide, I don’t know.”
“We were on TV?”
“Yeah, for the Grammys.”
“We were nominated for Grammys??”
“Yup, and you won some, too.”
He was dumbfounded. “So we didn’t break up…”
“Yeah, and good thing too.”
“Is Adam still alive in your…universe?”
“Yup, alive and kicking.”
He appeared relieved. “And still with U2?”
“Yes, what happened here?”
“Annie, Adam was a good friend. He wasn’t just my bassist, he was my best man at my wedding. And he died ages ago. Suicide. A few years after the band broke up.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Can I see him?”
“I don’t know, you can try. I don’t know if this is a good idea, but…come with me.”
I led him back to the dressing room.
“Whoa, dude,” I said, “let’s just make sure no one sees you.”
Mary was gone. I changed back into my regular clothes and then let Paul into the dressing stall. I touched the mirror, and it gave way. I took his hand and led into and through the mirror, and there was nobody in the dressing room there either. Fortunately. I began to wonder if I was in the right universe. But everything looked right.
“I forgot to tell you…we’re in the States now.”
He just stared at everything.
“Hey,” I said, “wanna see your CDs in Sam Goody?”

A while later, we were back in the alternate universe, and I told him not to say anything about me.

I found the diary of my counterpart in the guesthouse and read it. I wouldn’t have done that except that I saw the word suicide in it when I was flipping through it. I read all about her affection for “Uncle Paul” and her plot to kill herself. I wrote a note to the counterpart parents that Annie was planning to kill herself and to check her diary if they doubted it. I told Paul I was leaving this universe.
So when Annie came back eventually (and I don’t know about her experiences in my universe), she was immediately confronted by her parents. There was a lot of tears and they agreed that Annie should go into therapy. Nobody knew about her crush on Mr. Hewson.
That was until one day that summer. Now Annie had had a habit of taking walks with Mr. Hewson every Thursday morning on the airstrip. This started when she found out he took walks there alone, back when she was 15. So one day, they were walking, and they talked about her therapy and she was somewhat abashed, but finally she said, “Mr. Hewson—Paul—I have something to tell you.”
“Yes?”
“I...I…I…I love you,” she finally stammered. “I’ve loved you since I … since I was…thirteen…and now I can’t stop thinking about you.”
He was silent. They had stopped walking.
“Will you…would you…please…kiss me?”
Silence. “I can’t.”
She moved closer to him, and he backed away in confusion. “Please,” she said, “just one kiss. I’ve dreamed of kissing you, and I want just one. One real kiss. Please.”
“No.”
“Why not.”
“It’s wrong. I have Ali. I love her. I can’t give you what you want. It wouldn’t be right…I don’t want to do that to her…or to you.”
“To me? I want you to kiss me! I’d never ask for another one, not ever again.”
“I’m sorry, Annie. I can’t.”
“I’ll die then.”
“No you won’t.”
“It’s just a kiss.”
“No,” he said, “no it’s not. I’m not going to fool you, Annie. I don’t … I don’t feel the same way about you that you feel about me…and I don’t want to. I care about you, Annie…that’s why I can’t kiss you.”
Annie turned and walked away slowly, her head down. She started to cry.
“Annie…”
“You don’t love me!”
“Yes, I do…just not the way I love Ali. I can never love someone else the way I love Ali.” He touched her shoulder, took his hand away a second, and finally rested it on her shoulder. “Look, I know what it’s like to have these feelings. We can’t always have what we want. Sometimes it’s better that way. This is one of those times.”
She turned to face him, and her face was distorted.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Hewson. I shouldn’t have told you. I messed everything up.” She burst into sobs, leaning forward, and he gently embraced her.
“I’m not angry at you, Annie.”
“Thank you, Mr. Hewson.” She was leaning into his neck, and he gently pushed her away. “You won’t tell anyone, will you?”
He hesitated, then said, “No, I won’t, Annie.”
“Thank you.”
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Old 01-18-2004, 04:27 AM   #2
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my name is not really Annie Tolzman and I am NOT suicidal. just so you know.
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Old 01-20-2004, 07:03 PM   #3
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This story is starting to embarrass me. Actually, in a later part (which i haven't even written yet) the alternate Bono finds out Adam didnt really kill himself after all...
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Old 01-26-2004, 08:56 PM   #4
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i think it's interesting
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Old 01-26-2004, 08:59 PM   #5
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thanks edge's girl.
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