The Curse of the Future

We had barely said hello each other when the rim of her eyes reddened and three seconds later she was sobbing uncontrollably dragging the attention of everybody around us.

“Ple-please forgive me,” she hardly stammered, battling to contain her tears shielding her face with her hands.

I did not know what to do or what to say. I felt uncomfortable, ashamed, but beyond that, deep inside me, I felt guilty.

This is something I seldom speak about. Maybe I’m afraid of what people might think of me or maybe because I’m too coward to endure the burden of somebody else’s fate.

Since I was a little boy I was drawn to things that I didn’t understand but that arouse my imagination. One of such enigmas was the future. The Future so elusive at the distance but so real when stands before us. It’s possible to predict the future? I wondered like everybody else thinking how amazing could be having the possibility to see into the future. But most of the times, things doesn’t turn out as one expected.

During my adolescence I started experiencing “sensations” that I defined as precognitive thoughts. But these thoughts arrived to my head like a whisper, bypassing the usual cognitive process of causality—that states that an effect can never precede a cause.

“Which will be the lottery numbers?” People asked me when I mentioned this peculiar condition—I don’t how much for debunking my statement or because they were fueled by avarice. Some even put in doubt my sanity arguing I suffered Schizophrenia or had a schizoid personality.

After being analyzed by a professional that attested my sanity I went back to enjoy a normal person’s life which included many chores, among them, doing the errands for my mother. One of many was to collect the cosmetics that she ordered by catalogue. Those days I made a detour in my way home from work to collect the items.

The sales person was a married woman probably in her late thirties, mother of a boy and a girl, both under ten.

Over time, what was supposed to be a quick stop for collection of the supplies turned into a conversation in which she recounted her afflictions. I don’t know why she had the confidence to confess herself with a person whose barely knew his name, but she did and I didn’t stop her.

At that time she was not feeling comfortable with her job and the relationship with her husband was deploring and she feared a break up that could ultimately lead to divorce. On the bright side, she told me about her ex-employer that was looking for her, offering a position to work outside the country, reason why she didn’t accept, “my entire life is here,” she said.

After a long talk hearing her tribulations and the description and actions of a man that I didn’t know, I felt an odd sensation, like if somebody whispered me words that I said aloud without meditating about.

“Accept the offer of your ex-employer, pack your things and take your children with you to start a new life. Leave without saying a word to nobody, not even your husband and do it as soon as you can, if you can tomorrow, tomorrow then,” I said firmly.

“What?” She frowned visibly irritated, probably judging me as crazy.

After a long silence, she packed the cosmetics and handed me the bag and I departed.

In the way to my car I understood her reaction. Taking her children away from her husband—the man that she loved—without his consent was a felony, and on second thought, I—being a person of principles—found that equally unappropriated, but depth down me, I felt that was the right thing to do, and I felt no remorse for my harsh words.

Time passed and one day she called me. It was weird since there was not backorder from my mother—she used to call me or text me to notify the arrival of the products. She told me that she needed to talk to me and proposed taking a coffee. Since I felt still in debt with her by my past behavior I accepted non-hesitantly.

When I arrived to the coffee shop I approached her table and we had barely said hello each other when the rim of her eyes reddened and three seconds later she was sobbing uncontrollably dragging the attention of everybody around us.

“Ple-please forgive me,” she hardly stammered, battling to contain her tears shielding her face with her hands. “You were right.”

You were right, she said, words that contrary of what you might think were not received with proudness.

It turns out that a week after my visit a petition of divorce arrived at her door but was not delivered by lawyer but by cops that came into the house for taking the children. Her husband claimed children abuse that was corroborated by her sister—whose by that time was lover of her husband. In a few words, her sister and husband plotted to take the children and the house and live happily ever after, leaving a women—both wife and mother—literally abandoned without permission to see her children and working twice as hard for paying consultation fees of the lawyers in an attempt to recover what was stolen from her. To recover her past that was robbed by the harsh future.

Looking at her crying I did not know what to do or what to say. I felt uncomfortable, ashamed, but beyond that, deep inside me, I felt guilty. Guilty for prophesying a future that she didn’t deserve, in some way like if saying it would put in motion the mysterious machinery of the “causes” that will bring the awful consequences.

It would be gratifying to have the ability to look into the future even if it’s just a short glimpse, As a boy I used to think so, but now not anymore. It feels like a burden. A burden that nobody wants to carry.

When I’m in trivial discussions with friends and somebody ponders about the possibility of a person being truly be able to see into the future—a sort of superhero—, I’m convinced that in our lives we have crossed paths with someone with that ability, maybe more than once, but we will never know. Just because that person will never tell you, not even if he/she knows for certain that you are going to die tomorrow. That person will only behold us like clouds passing above a blue sky, just like the sands of time slips through our fingers because nobody can deal with a “You were right.”

M. Ch. Landa

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