"the one about the time travelers"

Ryanne Kap

Ryanne Kap (she/her) is a Chinese-Canadian writer from Strathroy, Ontario. Her work has been featured in Grain Magazine, Ricepaper Magazine, Watch Your Head, Feelszine, Scarborough Fair, and The Unpublished City Volume II. In 2020, her short story “Heat” won first place in Grain Magazine’s Short Grain contest. Ryanne studied English and creative writing at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is currently pursuing an MA in English at Western University.

“I wrote this poem after ‘The Time Travelers,’ which is season 8, episode 20 of How I Met Your Mother. So many elements of this sitcom fascinate me: the unique plays on the 20-minute structure; the clever takes on 20-somethings and the crudeness of its early-2000s humour; all the debts it owes to Friends (see the title of this poem); the idealized picture of New York City; the specific type of people that inhabit it. It’s a show I hate to love and love to hate, but this episode is, to me, HIMYM at its best: a weird conceit paired with striking emotional resonance. The idea of speaking with future versions of yourself and then realizing that it’s all the product of lonely projection — Josh Radnor sells it perfectly. I wanted to take on that image, that feeling, and imagine myself into it in a way that both indulges and resists the conceit.”

     20-years-from-now me
     walks into a bar
     we discuss how a lifetime of
     holding tension has thrown
     out our shoulders

     i don’t ask her what we’re doing
     or who we love i just want to know if
     we’re still dragging ourselves
     through each day or if we’ve
     found some way to make
     our lungs light again

     20-hours-from-now me
     takes a seat across from us
     and tells me it begins tomorrow
     this hunt for Happiness and it’ll
     restart every time i twirl scissors
     between my palms but the
     important thing is that it starts again

     20-years-from-now me agrees
     says she’s found small peace in
     odd arrangements of daffodils and
     binging old sitcoms about white
     people in new york

     20-minutes-from-now me takes the last
     seat and begs us to shut up because
     when that first shot of tequila hits
     the room will be swimming in strobe lights

     i take the shot and tell my selves we spend
     too much energy projecting forwards or backwards
     maybe we should stay right here for once

     there’s a commercial break’s worth of time
     before we all agree