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.