Noun. counterfactual – A claim, hypothesis, or other belief that is contrary to the facts. A hypothetical state of the world, used to assess the impact of an action. A conditional statement in which the conditional clause is false, as “If I had arrived on time . . .”.


It’s so seductive, thinking about the ‘What if’s’. Some of the tropes I love most in fiction are time travel, sliding doors and alternative history. It’s not just me that would run off in a flash if The Doctor landed the TARDIS in my street.

I’d be a lot further ahead in my career if only I’d kept writing in my twenties instead of giving it up because it felt pointless. It’s no more or less pointless now, I’ve just given it a different meaning.

If we hadn’t gone abroad in 2006 we’d own our house now. Apparently in an alternate universe I would have been magically happy to stay home and not travel through the UK, France, Egypt and Thailand with my boys for six months. I’m not sure I recongnise myself in that scenario.

I used to dream all the time that I arrived home one day to find myself already there, living my life. This idea appears in Hotel Deja vu. The first time I felt this was when I drove home for the first time a few days after T died. I felt reality slipping away as I drove, becoming convinced that not only would he be there when I got home, but so would I. We would be on the patio, as we were most afternoons, having a cold drink with the dog. We weren’t.

If T hadn’t died, I’d be…

Where? I think I’d be right where I am.

I think I think about the past far too much.

Do you spend most of your head-space time in the Present, the Past of the Future? I spend most of my time thinking about the past or the future. Since a started daily meditation and journalling I’m still really future oriented but my ruminations on the past have lessened. I do spend a lot of my head-space time either thinking about a story I’m writing or wondering what I’m going to eat for dinner, but now I rarely imagine scary scenarios, or fearful imaginings, as I call them. It’s such a waste of time. No one expected the Spanish Inquisition. No one suspects the hippo or the zebra both those fuckers are the biggest killers of humans in Africa. Other than other humans that is.


Feature Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

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