Parallel time on and off the island
I have a gut feeling that Desmond never left Penny out of cowardice – there is only one version of events in which he left her, and this was because of the flashback when he blew up the hatch and the influence of Elouise
I think that future events on the island are running parallel to the outside world, so Desmond blew up the hatch at the same time that he was breaking up with Penny in the outside world.
This is how in season 4 the doctor was swept up on the beach , but at the same time alive and well on the boat. Maybe the fact the boat was still just within the island’s radius meant the difference was only a few hours rather than years.
After ben pushed the wheel and started the flashes, Daniel spoke to Desmond in the hatch. Desmond then only remembered this conversation years later when he was off the island. So at this point, I assume thanks to moving the wheel, the Island is now behind the rest of the world rather than ahead of it. Maybe in “the constant” Desmond’s conciousness was therefore not so much travelling back and forth in his timeline, but jumping back and forth to and from the Island.
Furthermore 🙂 the communication to and from the island is obviously unaffected by this time difference. Agh, so confusing
please add your thoughts