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August 20th, 2009

Fiction

Let's see where this goes...

Dear Gregg,

         I have a secret. I'm so afraid that if I tell the secret to someone, bad things will happen to me and to other people, so you're the only person I can tell. I'm telling you now, because the pain of the knowledge I hold so closely is getting too great. I need to console myself somehow. I can't even tell this to my best friends, not even my wife, so here I am, writing it to you.
        Someone once told me that writing a diary could be comforting, but it seems unnatural to me, writing to an inanimate object. "Dear diary". So, I'm addressing this to myself, and perhaps, if I need a response, I might even do that.
        My secret is that I know parts of the future. All I have to do is think about someone, and if I focus hard enough and in just the right way, I can know just about anything I want to about what will happen to them in the future. Death is the easy one, and the one I tend to focus on, because it happens to everyone. All I have to do is think about that person and think about them dying, and I'll see when it happens (by visualizing how old they are, it's not like I see a calendar) and how. I can't use this ability to get unfair advantages in sporting events and stock markets. It's just about individual people.
         My ability leaves me as an emotional wreck, generally. I don't want to know these things. I try to put the ability out of my mind, most of the time. As I said, I have to focus in the right way, so I avoid doing that, but sometimes, usually when I'm listening to music that strikes me emotionally or when I'm dreaming, I just drift into that focus state and I learn things that I just don't want to know.
        This morning, on my commute to work, I turned on some music instead of listening to NPR as I usually do, and the music really touched me. Without intending to, and while driving along, I slipped into that focus state and got to see how and when my wife will die, again. I hate that. Perhaps I should explain why it makes me afraid, because I'm sure you're wondering why I don't share this secret. First, if other people knew I had this ability, I'm afraid they'd try to make me use it. I don't know what use they'd get out of it, but I'm sure someone would misunderstand and think that I can tell the future for anything and then hurt me because they think I'm holding out on them. I'm also afraid that if I tell the people I trust how they're going to die, they'll try to change it. I don't know if it can be changed. I don't know if the act of trying to change it causes their death. I'm afraid to experiment. Heck, I'm even afraid that they'll all think I'm nuts. I may be, but not about this.  I'm not paralyzed by my fear, though.  I just know and keep to myself.

        I don't deal with death very well, when it happens to someone I'm close to or know.  I'm fortunate in that it hasn't yet become a major factor in my life.  A few people I've known have died.  A few distant family members.  All my grandparents.  A good friend, when I was twelve.  A good friend's child.  My wife's grandparents.  It's normal.  Everyone has some death around them at some times.  I get kind of morose when it happens to me, though.  And it comes back, even after so many years.  I mentioned that when I was twelve a good friend died.  His name was Eric Valiquette.  I didn't really mourn his death, back in 1985.  I mourned him in 2008, for some odd reason, just days before the birth of my daughter.
        Maybe I don't deal well with death because I have no faith.  I don't know if life is like a candle, and once it's snuffed, that's it, or whether perhaps life is more like the life cycle of a butterfly, and death is a soul's transformation into something new.  I don't have any evidence, and so it's easiest for me to assume that once it's over, it's over.  When death happens around me, I get gripped with loss and emptiness and sorrow.  I get gripped by unmet potential.  It's exactly the same when I learn how or when someone is going to die.  I get that same gripping feeling, just years or decades ahead of time.
        Thank you, diary.  Thank you, Gregg.  I'll write you more soon.  If something comes to mind, I hope you'll write back.

                Gregg

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