The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.

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22. Future-Seeing.

You can never know what's coming. That's what I was told as a child. Don't predict the future, don't try to understand or make sense of the things that have not yet happened. But the problem was, I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop, and they couldn't understand.

Being able to look into tomorrow was both a gift and a curse. Nowadays, It remains more of burden than anything.

I first realised that I could see the future when I was very young, when I knew my sister was going to be bitten by a dog that neither of us had met yet. I couldn't say when it would happen, or even who the owner of the dog was, but inside, I could see the dog, leaping up, teeth bare, going at my sister as her small hands went in front of her face, a feeble attempt at protecting herself. It finally happened a few days later, and even though I had mentioned it to my mother, I wished I had been more insistent, I wished I had made them understand how clear it was in my head, like a 35mm projection across a blackened room.

Whilst my sister's scars faded, my ability to future-see only got stronger, and yet I realised that nobody else could do this. For a while, I tried to look into it, talking to people I thought might understand, but they always asked if I could speak to the dead. When I told them I couldn't, they always seemed disappointed, and so I stopped talking about it. It became just a part of the background noise, as it were.

I wish I had stories for you, about how it kept me out of trouble, but most of the time, I would ignore it. Sometimes, I could know what problems I might cause myself, but still do them anyways, just to know what the consequences felt like, and sometimes, that had been the better reason.

Other times, I'd missed things, things that I wished I'd known. When the planes hit the towers, I didn't see it. I don't know why. It still drives me crazy that I couldn't see that coming, but I can tell you that, tomorrow, you're going to drive into the back of a blue Ford because of a sun-spot that's going to blind you. You'll both be okay, you and the other driver, but his claim is going to rack up your insurance, so you might want to leave the house five minutes earlier. Fate waits for all of us, but I don't always know how to tune into it.

I've predicted some big events - a couple of earthquakes - but often, I don't have the tools to do anything about it. You get used to it. Used to the panicky feeling in your chest - the Google search as you try and find a phone number to which ever corner of the world you try to warn. Sometimes, you're days early, sometimes only minutes. But it never gets any easier, trying to convince a government official, or a scientist someplace, that you know what's coming. Apparently, they get these calls all the time. How are they supposed to know who's real and who isn't. In the end, you feel helpless.

In my life, it's helped sometimes. With girlfriends, or jobs. You always know when things are about to turn sour, or that the business is close to going under. I compare it to being the first person in the lifeboat. That's the advantage you have.

But I've realised something recently, that there is no greater emotion than true love, and it gets in the way of my future-seeing.

We'd been together almost seven months, and we were both so in love it was like the rest of the world was on mute. When I look back now, I wish I had realised that I hadn't seen anything in a while. It happened sometimes, and like I say, it became background noise, so it didn't feel unusual.

She had to go on a trip for her job - she would be away for a week, and though she wasn't feeling so well, she was determined to go. Nothing more than the flu, she said, and with all her medication, she would be fine.

I kissed her and hugged her at the airport, told her how much I loved her, and asked her to call me when she landed. She said she'd see me soon, and that she couldn't imagine a future without me. And as she walked through to security, my heart swam after her.

It was the drive home when I saw it. It started with the portal window that you get on a plane, her head rested to the side, looking out as they crawled gently over rolling clouds. The sun's rays would be lighting them in pinks and oranges as it was readying to pass away. Then I watched her close her eyes, knowing she was thinking of us. A few minutes might pass, and the steward would ask her to pull down the blind, but she wouldn't respond. As they lean over to do it for her, the steward would get a feeling that something was wrong and try to wake her. But she wouldn't respond.

I looked at the sun in the sky - it had maybe an hour before it was set to go down. I had less than that to try and do something about it.

But as I sat by the side of the road, trying desperately to get the airline to listen to what I was telling them, I knew I was losing her. I was losing her and there was nothing I could do.

I think about it now, these years on, and I realise that we're here for just a few beats in time. Things are always going to happen that are beyond our control, beyond the stretch of our fingers. It''s how we deal with the now that is more important than the tomorrow.
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