So, hooray! I finally came around to starting my blog! Anyways, I just wanted to get my work out there for now, and even though this story isn't something that I'd usually post, I just wanted to get this started and get a feel for this platform ...yay! I hope you enjoy this short story called "One Day" that I wrote a month or two ago, and "When", which is the sequel.
You’ll wake up in the morning and sleep at night. You’ll go to work, read sappy romance on Metro trains, and scream daggers at the radio. On sunny days, you’ll go on a walk and then eat a bar of chocolate afterward because that’s how you are.
But that isn’t your story. The very meaning of “a story” can be controversial, but you won’t realize that until 2056, which is still an improvement since most individuals never get it at all. You see, understanding the future is like telling a story that hasn’t gotten written yet, and stories are words that haven’t stuck together yet. People can’t predict the future because it’s the future, and Oracles are no better. We can tell you what you will do, but we can’t help you understand why you’ll do it, and they’re always those little surprises that come in heart-shaped boxes at the end of each day. But that’s not your story either. You came here and paid me good money to whisper into a crystal ball and—-here, let’s explain it like this.
Boxes. You all want to put yourselves in boxes for some reason, check off words to explain who you are, but some words can’t define who you are.
I can’t go tromping around town saying I’m an Oracle, and that’s who I am because that’s plain stupid. I ain’t just an Oracle; I give advice and move on. You, humans, are more than restrictive boxes. Why do we all go and describe our race as some adjective? So you’re kind, funny, and your race is ___? That’s why I should like/dislike you; because of your race or because you’re kind and funny. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably like you, but if we put a screen in front of our eyes, we won’t be seeing any colors. It’s about time we start seeing ourselves as human beings that need love and respect.
So, you wanted a story of the future, let me give it to you. Truth to power; bah. Hope for the human race? Bah. Future isn’t a fortune cookie. You don’t pull out a slip of paper, read your future, and everything ends happily ever after. Believing is important, but there isn’t one straight road either way. No, wait, actually there is, and it’s called a rocky road. They’re people who are racist, sexist, and homophobic, but they’re also the multicultural, unprejudiced, and humanitarians out there. You decide which future you want to follow (but there’s no cheating life or the future for that matter)
Before I go on and on about whatever you want me to tell you about your future, let me say one more thing. You’ll always keep this knowledge stored in the back of your heart like this shop is the back end of the building complex. I’m not telling you your future; I’m just explaining it to you—because in my world, you write the story, and I read it. I’m only reading what you wrote and are writing to this day. Walking the line between past and present is dangerous. There ain’t no running away from change, either; it’s the only thing that stays constant as each wrinkle marks your face.
Because when I tell you this, I’m not predicting anything. I’m explaining what already happened.
It’ll be sunny and cloudy and full of rainbows. Gosh darn, I can’t explain the weather! All I can say is you’ll be angry at it because human emotions can get complicated, and whenever you want to be happy, you can’t. The windows will get shuttered closed, mail collecting on that depressing desk of yours which you haven’t opened, but today, you’ll take a deep breath for the first time.
Sometimes you’ll leave your bed unmade, and heart wrapped up in old patchwork quilts. Other times, the birds will be singing and your heart soaring right along with them, but today you’ll realize the fridge is empty and there are bills to pay. A pipe might’ve burst or a window might’ve cracked beside your unmade bed, but that’s a small price to pay to be living.
And as you’ll walk outside on that rickety porch and look up at the sun, you’ll realize you’re alive with your heart still pumping and oxygen still flowing. It’ll take you a while, under that cracked open ball of flaming light, but you’ll realize you’re still living and the life you’re living is going to be worth it.
One day you’ll make up your own once-upon-a-time, and roll out from unmade covers, realizing you’re alive. You’ll feel your chest thumping to the beat of birdsong, flaking off the night’s cape as a way to greet the dawn. Parables and playlists will lead you into the near future, a present you must now acknowledge and nurture. Shuttered paper butterflies will unfold, and the tightly woven quilt around your aches lets go of its mold.
Maybe tomorrow you’ll walk barefoot in the dew-heavy grass, in cut-off overalls proudly grinning through your mask, understanding breath for the first time, noticing the clear skies and nature’s gifts; it must be a sign.
You’ll take someone home and comfort them on the way there; hold their hand, put the puzzle pieces together; join a community and carry a purpose, tell their stories, weave words into happiness. One day you will understand the meaning of life. It’s the human race’s most precious prize.
How’s that for a collaged future explanation—because tomorrow will be the same. You’ll read your sappy romance, scream daggers at the radio, and bite your nails anxiously every time you accidentally open your umbrella inside the house. Who knows, you may crack open fortune cookies and tape the good ones to your plain, shuttered walls?
All I can tell you is that nothing is going to change if you don’t understand it. It’s my job to wait, alone under street signs and lamposts, waiting for the right person to ask me a question. I know who the right person is, and who it’s going to be, but they don’t, and I have no right to mess up their future like that.
You’ll soon realize, under your own lampost on a rainy day, that you know who that person will be too. They could be painting swirls on slabs of stone, writing a tangled script on the road, or staring out their window into the wide expanse of the world.
One day, you’ll know when to change up your genre, take a different Metro line even though you aren’t going anywhere, but you’ll wind up somewhere, and that’s the point. So get out of here child, and look out your window. There are stories left unfinished, lives to save, trees to grow, and bridges to mend. Don’t come here to ask me to tell you about your future, because one day, you’ll be able to explain it to yourself.
END OF PART ONE, NOW STARTING "WHEN". 😁😋
A small black box emerged on an Ipad the Oracle had positioned on her lap. She sucked her teeth anxiously, worried over the man on the other side of the screen, or the everchanging future, or both. Of course, she could put bits and pieces together of what would happen, but she still felt nervous. That was the strangeness of being an Oracle; she still felt surprised, still felt emotion. It was one of the tethers she had to the human world.
“I plotted many evils and poisoned many minds, All-Knowing Seer.”
The Oracle had many names, but Kade only used her first one.
“Do you know of the evil plots I have concocted? Surely, some have been a surprise, the demise of the human race being upon us and all—”
“Drat, of course, you know. Isn’t it boring to know the future, already know all the choices you’ll make and the fate that will come over each individual? Being utter chaos is a better way to live life than worrying over everyone else’s lives.”
Chaos was a ridiculous name for a tangled mess. Kade was the master of chaos and pulled its reigns, but if you undid the knots he was only human. Nothing and nobody followed natural order except the Oracle, but that was her burden to bear.
“You’re not going to respond to me? Fine. I’m going to tell you my plots to wreak chaos and darken souls anyway.” Kade’s gaunt expression flickered into somewhat of a smile, but his tousled hair kept on getting in the way of his eyes.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to share evil ploys over a zoom call.”
He paused as if thinking over the Oracle’s words, though he knew that she knew what he would do in the end. “Then why did you call me? I would’ve met in person, but there’s a virus going on. You should know that. How old are you really? You must’ve been around to see the Black Plague I created.”
The Oracle didn’t realize she was gripping the edge of her chair.
“I called to help you understand.”
“Chaos can’t be understood, and it can only be spread. One day, I will overcome you, and you know it. It’s a matter not of what, but when, dear sister. Until then, let me remind you: you may be able to read the stories people have written for themselves, but you can’t choose how they end.”
Sometimes, she liked to wander along broken alleyways and sit under the shade of lit lamposts. The lampost differed every time, but each one was lit, and that was all that mattered. Sometimes, there were tiny stickers under the right ones, and wads of gum under the benches beneath them. The Oracle didn’t know why the benches were directly beside the lamposts, but she liked to imagine they were placed there for someone to see the light every once in a while.
The Oracle took out a large sack and began to ruffle through it, remembering the man who’d visited her the other day. Inside the sack were a fortune cookie and a mirror. She wouldn’t open the cookie—not yet. Instead, she took the mirror out and stared into another woman’s penciled-in features, ones that outlined her graying hair pulled back into a bun and the many shawls she wore around her neck. The woman she never got to be.
When would she realize…ah, but she did know when, and she didn’t want to think about it. The Oracle was tired of thinking about the future and still found herself thinking about it all the time.
Rocking side-to-side on the bench, the Oracle stared out into the nighttime sky brightened with city lights and the occasional star. The dampened grass beneath her feet comforted her, and once the lampost flickered on, she felt as if someone had dropped a little bit of sunshine on her shoulders.
“Tell me about the stars. Can something like that really exist?”
The Oracle snapped out of her trance to see a young girl, maybe ten years old, with features so pale it looked as if she were a ghost. In reality, the Oracle never lived a present life, always ten minutes or three years ahead. Her story would always be completed before she could think to understand it, but the girl was different. She hadn’t sensed the girl coming.
“It’s dark out, child. You shouldn’t be out here.”
The girl didn’t seem fazed. Instead, she crept out into the silvery moonlight and stared up at the sky.
“Well, then when will I be ready to be out here? When I’m older? Everyone tells me I’ll understand when I’m older, but I think I’ll understand now.”
Those words reminded the Oracle of Kade, and how she could never understand him because as the girl twirled around under the moon, she realized that the girl couldn’t be understood. There were only endless possibilities.
“Do you just sit here all night, listening to the stars tell stories, or are you waiting for someone? Can all the beauty up there really exist? I’m only asking you because mamma says older people have great knowledge.”
The Oracle had, indeed, lots of knowledge, but none the girl would want to hear. She considered asking about the girl’s parents, but the girl scooted next to her on the bench, swiping the fortune cookie and popping it into her mouth whole. Silently, the Oracle looked up at the lampost and then back down to the girl who was patiently waiting for answers. For once, the Oracle quieted her thoughts of the future and spoke.
“Yes, I think the stars are pretty. I rather like to believe in all the pretty things.”
“What’s your name? I can’t tell you mine because, you know, stranger danger, but I still think you’re nice.”
Despite all the doubts the Oracle had about the sudden appearance of the girl, she smiled, feeling each wrinkle in her cheek stretch. Suddenly, she felt the urge to stay and talk to this cheery, pigtailed girl who seemed to have no care in the world.
“You can call me the Oracle.”
The girl nodded her head. “Yeah, I know you. You’re the one with the crazy cat who wakes me up every morning! I live on the apartments up top! Don’t you explain people’s futures?”
The Oracle was sure of the innocence of this girl, this crazy, wild, beautiful girl until she scooted closer to the Oracle and whispered into her ear.
“But strangers can do bad things, so you have to promise not to tell anyone.”
The girl’s serious voice spoke the stories she had encountered, the things she had seen. For the first time, the Oracle had put someone in a box and judged incorrectly. For the first time, she hugged someone like she meant it, and it felt good.
“So, why are you waiting out here alone? Nobody should be alone, Oracle.”
“Well, aren’t you out here alone?”
“No, I have the stars, I have a good mamma, and I have you. My favorite star is the one I visit every day named Betty Jean. She’s my best friend.”
The two of them were still entwined together, the girl’s head pressed against the Oracle’s shawls. She tilted her head sideways, looking up at the Oracle as if she was seeing through her.
“Why are you waiting for the present to catch up to the future? You know, even All-Seeing Oracles need to live in the present moment, because the present will never catch up with the future, and then you won’t live your life.”
The Oracle sighed, remembering all the tangles she had to worm out of in the future life she lived. Stroking the girl’s hair gently, she looked at the night’s dark cape over the sky again.
“I can’t live in the present. Oracles always see the future, live the future, and try to cleanse the future before it actually happens. It’s my curse.”
“But weren’t you just living in the present right now? When is a funny word. It’s like an Oracle word since a when happens in the future but is wished for in the present. Trust me, there are a lot of solutions to the world right in front of you. You just need to look in the right places.”
Then, as the Oracle was reeling in this new revelation, the girl winked and skipped off the bench all-smiles, though a hint of sadness still lingered in her sea-blue eyes. “I knew I could trust you.”
And then, she was gone, leaving the Oracle with only her thoughts and a flickering lampost. Maybe they really did lead you to the right people.
The Oracle chose a bench without a lampost this time, in the wide expanse of park grasses, surrounded by other benches. All she focused on was the sunrise, the beautiful yellowing-orange of the sunset. She kind of didn’t want this moment to end.
“Hey! Look who’s out and about! But still, we have to social distance. I’m not getting sick because of you, especially on the day I’m supposed to tell you my chaotic plans.”
And there he was— the person who pulled chaos’s reins.
“Hello, Kade. Why don’t you join me to watch this beautiful sunrise.”
Kade whirled back to see the sun glinting back at him.
“Yeah, sure, but don’t you see these kinds of things all the time? I know you said something about knowing all my plans, but I’d still love to annoy you with them. I can tell you’re very worried about me, waiting for the day when my powers will overcome yours and the whole world will be plunged into chaos.”
The Oracle scooted to the other side of the bench, watching the sky turn a pinkish blue. It was watching an oil painting come together. Each solution to the sky came at its own time, at its own present.
“I’m not worried about you Kade. That day isn’t here yet, so I’m focusing on the present.”
Kade met the Oracle’s eyes, his face in absolute bewilderment.
“But, you’re an Oracle! It’s your job to look into the future! You can’t live in the present! It’s impossible, outrageous, a catastrophe! It’s like you’re doing my job for me!”
He ranted on and on as the Oracle dug something out of her canvas bag. An umbrella.
“Kade, if I were you, I’d get inside. It’s about to rain.”
And as she opened her umbrella, Kade instantly got drenched with the downpour of rain. The beautiful sunrise had given way to a soothing sort of rain, and the Oracle almost felt like dancing in it.
“That’s cheating! You must’ve looked into the future to see me like this, didn’t you!” Kade angrily fumed, soaked, and chilled to the bone.
“No, I just checked the weather app on my phone, Lord of Chaos.”