The genesis of the time machine was vague. I only know this: it was a mechanism of the mind. I wanted to use it to travel back to the day my young grandmother, who wore pants and had fine auburn hair, got up on the stage to join the Dewey-Truman debate. It was famous for being the first televised debate; people could see the expressions on the candidates' faces, their body language, who was asking the questions. My grandmother had something pressing on her mind so she raised her hand. She said smart and respectable things and stumped the candidates. A woman! They invited her on stage and the audience cheered. By that intricate contraption I saw it all, and then someone changed the channel.
I told myself I wanted to meet the musical genius Prince. I wanted to see a concert of his, because I didn't when he was alive. But it wasn’t a concert this thing took me to; it was Prince himself. We had a conversation about aching bones, aging, and high-heeled shoes. He was small, like a child, and had tender things to say; he knew what worked for his body and what didn’t. At one point we were in Macy’s fingering finely made textiles, stitched with sequins. He held up a dress to my body, and then vanished.
I reappeared behind my old Honda, its hatch wide open. My brother was debating me about how the art would be transported for our journey across country. He told me his photographs should be placed atop my paintings. He gave me a long, drawn out explanation why, but I was still pissed. Why was his art more important than mine? Is there a hierarchy to art at all? My paintings could be damaged. Crushed. I started to yell, pull out my hair. He was just so insufferable sometimes. Then his wife’s anachronistic voice boomed across the sky, reprimanding him. My mother beckoned from the back seat to get in and stop squabbling. We arranged the paintings and photographs vertically and shut the hatch. The last thing I remember is the pink pigment of rock of the Painted Desert, how it spun slowly in the dust.