True, rewriting the past probably had almost no meaning, Tengo felt. His older girlfriend had been right about that. No matter how passionately or minutely he might attempt to rewrite the past, the general circumstances in which he found himself would remain generally unchanged. Time had the power to cancel all changes wrought by human artifice, overwriting all new revisions with further revisions, returning the flow to its original course. A few minor facts might be changed, but Tengo would still be Tengo.
What Tengo would have to do, it seemed was take a hard look at the past while standing at the crossroads of the present. Then he could create a future, as though he were rewriting the past. (Part II, p. 364)