Manu Ginobili stared into the waters of the burbling marble fountain. In the rippling surface he could see a reflection of himself, but it was not a true reflection; no, it was an image of how he had looked when he had first entered the NBA, a decade and a half ago. His face was clean-shaven, his hair was longer, and his expression no longer bore the weight of accumulated life experience. For how long he stared at this vision of his younger self, he did not know.
“I see you have discovered my fountain,” said a voice from behind him.
This interruption is what finally caused Manu to look up. “Your fountain?”
“The Fountain of Time,” said the bearded, white-robed old man, who held a golden pocketwatch in his hand. “It only makes sense that Father Time would possess a fountain whose waters can bend and collapse the very filaments of time itself.”
Manu’s eyes went back to the fountain. Now he could see himself holding his first NBA championship trophy. Inside the time-altered waters, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were flanking him, but when Manu Ginobili looked up in surprise, he was still standing by himself at the fountain.
“Your time has come, Manu,” Father Time said gently, walking forward to stand next to the man he was addressing and placing a hand on his shoulder.
Manu wanted to protest, but found that he couldn’t. “Perhaps,” he finally replied.
“Walk with me into the fountain,” Father Time said. “Let the forces of time cleanse you.”
Taking a deep breath, Manu stepped over the marble curbing and placed one foot into the water. The images being displayed in the water were now flashing by too quick to fully identify, but it wasn’t just scenes from his basketball career; he thought he could see his wedding day, the birth of his sons, and other important milestones in his life.
Nearly overcome by these poignant recollections, he submerged the other foot in the water. Then, everything went to black.