31 Aug 2004

One morning I met a strange, helpful man. He had wild, straggly hair, with a beard and mustache that was graying and unkempt; he was wearing a ragged brown overcoat. He looked as if he could have been homeless, though as he stood there on the sidewalk, he didn’t ask me for my spare change.

He said to me, “The future is here, and soon, it will be past.”

I was on my way to work, and so I hurried on by him, and I paid him no mind. He was not there the next day, nor the next, nor the next after that, and I forgot him by and by. But then, long afterwards, one year to the day, I saw him again — though it would not have registered that it was the same man, except for what he said.

He said to me, “The future is here, and soon, it will be past.”

And then it was like my life flashing before my eyes: the whole year from the last point where we two timelines had intersected came in one blurred, dizzying vision, scene after scene of the pratfalls and victories, the little joys and solemn sadnesses, the routines and the surprises, birthdays, holidays, weddings, funerals, dreams, and realities: all the way back to the last time he had said those same words to me, when all that was of this last year had been the future, and now it all was the past. I stood for a moment, stunned.

I had been on my way to work, but I thought better of that, now. There were things I needed to do, now that I understood this thing that man had said. He was walking away, now, down the street a ways, and I thought it best not to chase him down. He had delivered his message. I knew where I was.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

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