The green leaf fell from the tree too soon. It was only mid-summer but, the edges had browned and when the wind came along, the half-dead leaf had snapped loose and floated to the ground. He was tempted to pick it up but, if he did that again, the future would change. Instead, he waited. She would be along soon. The sun-dappled park was like a cool oasis in the sweltering city with it's tall elms and oaks and the majestic maples that spewed twirly-gigs in a squadron of helicoptering seeds. The grass gave off a coolness beneath his feet. It was always the same. The same place, the same time, the only thing that was different was him. Professor Colman Smith was back to being 24 years old again. He couldn't explain it. When the experiment had started, he was in his 70's. Now young again and thrown back into the past, caught in an endless loop that took a lifetime to complete. He would grow old again and on February 12th, 2020 at exactly 4 minutes and thirty-two seconds past two in the afternoon, he would suddenly find himself standing in the park. That's the moment he had pushed the button the first time and sent himself back through time to this moment, July 3rd,1967. Now he had to decide once more whether or not to speak to the girl, Miss Amanda Cartwright, his future wife. He had married her over forty times now. He had ignored her just as many. Each time was different. Each future uncertain. Several times he had lost her; an accident, once she had been murdered, a terrible disease that killed half the world had taken her in one future. He was the paradox, it was by his actions or in-actions that changed the future each time. If he had picked up the leaf, a nuclear war would possibly occur. Or a drought would strike. Or a comet would fall to Earth. And if he told her the truth about what was taking place, she would slap his face in fear and run away. Or not. Maybe this time things would be different. She had just sat down crying on one of the park's many picnic tables. She had just had a fight with her mother and dreaded going home. He took the first step towards her. They were destined to be together. Perhaps this time they would live out a long and wonderful life as man and wife and when February 12,2020 came along he would remain by her side. This time he would tell her the truth and risk the face slap.
The green leaf fell to the ground, too soon by months. He looked down at it. He reached to pick it up and hold it in his hands. His hands were old, something different had occurred. The park was the same but, now he was different. There would be no marriage this time. But, he would tell her the truth. He would tell her how he had loved her a thousand times before.