This piece was written for the Six Sentence Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘restore’.
James wanted to return to the more innocent self of his childhood, when all things seemed possible and he had plenty of time to explore possibilities, without knowingly hurting anyone or anything.
He believed he was essentially a good man but he regretted the bad things he had done in his life, especially the things he had done in Iraq.
At night, he was haunted by the memories of those bad things, felt deep shame for having done them and he would have done anything to have his time again.
But he knew this couldn’t happen and he didn’t believe in any AA-type salvation through making amends with God and the people that he had wronged.
He couldn’t go back to Iraq anyway and, even if he could, an apology wasn’t going to bring back the dead.
As he stared ruefully at his phone, he realised that what he desperately wanted was to be able to press a button in his brain and ‘Restore Factory Settings.’