Whatever Will Be, Will Be

by Isabelle B.L.

              Weeds shoot through concrete cracks. I yank them out of their foundations and run my finger across the bare wet soil. My finger fits perfectly between the walls of concrete. I get on my knees and tug and smooth. I do not need a crystal ball because fine grains of soil dapple my fingers and palms. A future moment emerges pixelating the golden leaves floating upon a  bed of weary, dehydrated foliage.  

              I am a spectator. My life plays before me. Main actors and props are cast and pre-production is satisfactory. My co-star is the same man that shuffles along the bus seat. The man who exits when I enter. The man that is thumbing through a magazine when his-doctor mine is late. The man who sits on a garden chair at the café on the corner of Smith and Brown fingering the handle of a Muggacino, dip, dip, oops, dropping a cookie in the foamy center.  

              In this hazy, avant-garde piece, there are no cold, metal benches, plastic waiting room seats or wooden outdoor chairs ideal for a quick fold-and-store-away until the next warm,  sunny day. We sink into an armchair. Sex is everywhere. Beds are at the bottom of the list.  The future plays in slow-motion. I glimpse at the hands and discover wedding bands. Identical golden bands. Quite a contrast to my current, daytime, two-toned in yellow and white 18ct  gold. An Etruscan-inspired vase. Dangling earrings. A pair of black Chelsea Boots taking a  nap. Photos of a radiating couple. Rosy cheeks. Straight, brilliant whites. We will be childless.  Dogs bark from a neighbor’s backyard. Sound quality is optimal. Unhaze the haziness. 

              I fidget with the now. Buttons, bracelet, bangle, bird poop. No. Stop. My present is interrupted by 99.9% eventualities. I am ushered back and forth from what is to what will be. I get back on my feet. Rip autumn from its branches—this season will tumble anyway—rough edges of a leaf cut but his soft skin rubs against my gash like lavender-scented balsam. What?  Now the present and future are mingling. Do you want a cup of tea with that? Present and future freshly crowned best friends forever. The future plays like a never-ending reel. Our twin rings kiss. I run back home. The copper-colored key digs into my skin. Notches and ridges mark my palm. I groan, howl, but pain has transformed into ecstasy. Best friends forever no more. It has been the devilish present against the angelic future all along. We reach climax and he squeezes out of the leather armchair. My older hand in a veil of viscid white. I  drop the key and pick it up. I open the door to the now and watch the blood trickle down the drain under a gush of water.  

              Frozen. But my amygdala is busy baking a cake creamed with anxiety, topped with what ifs, sprinkled with question marks. What if I say a word that will alter this fabulous future? What if I wake up? What if I move left when I should move right? Will that change the man in the armchair? Immortalize a Jack, Jill, Bob and Daisy in 18 x 24-inch photos snuggled in gilded frames? Will I lose that me and him if I take another bus, switch doctors,  dine at Dave’s café at the corner of High and Canterbury? Wake up? 


              I exit the doctor’s office. The stinging cold freezes thoughts of the hereafter featuring the doctor’s next patient or my next husband. A phantom-like mid-air trail reaches me before he does. A foot scuffs over a rock. The rock rolls over crushing the pink pansies its sturdy surface was supposed to protect. Newsflash. Pink, yellow, purple and blue pansies will bloom again. The Chelsea boot slides back. A frayed hem rains down over the leather opening. 

              “Chelsea Boots. I love Chelsea Boots.” I loosen my scarf. Patting my cheeks at the sudden rise in temperature. The now and future dancing to Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera. Best friends forever once again. 

              “I love that song.” Can he read my mind? I watch his boots glimmer under the moonlight as he calls the doctor to cancel his appointment. We walk to the café at the corner of Smith and Brown. They make divine Penne in a sweet and spicy Arrabiata topped with basil leaves, but a near-future slideshow shows a couple enjoying hearty minestrone. And an even nearer future smells of toast. Burnt toast—Toast.

About the Author

Isabelle B.L is a writer and teacher based in France. Her work can be found in the Best Microfiction 2022 anthology, Visual Verse, Five Minutes, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Bluepepper and elsewhere.

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