Hello – I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. You see, I knew you were coming. Tonight. And I know what you are about to do. I see you look a little worried, not quite what you expected. Don’t worry, I haven’t called the police. Even if I wanted to, I can’t change what is going to be. Sit down, won’t you? Do what you must, but first let me explain myself to you; my secret.
I was born screaming seventy one years ago. During my infancy, I was deemed a colicky baby. I never stopped crying for long; I seemed to be in a great deal of pain. In reality, I was crying in fright. Those first images I saw, blurry and unknown, still haunt me in my dreams sometimes. As I grew, my parents thought I was retarded. I didn’t have very good motor skills; I would run into things and stop without cause. I couldn’t speak or even understand English until I was five years old. Did I mention my parents thought I was retarded? Yes? Well, actually nothing could have been farther from the truth. I was really accelerated.
Even now, after an entire lifetime, I have difficulty describing what I see. It’s as if I live in two points in time. This one, in the here and now and another, a few days ahead. I know what it sound like – I see the skepticism in your face – but then, I never understood what it meant to live one day at a time until three days ago. The first few years of my life were superimposed on one another in a meaningless jumble of sounds and actions. I didn’t know which set of stimuli to react to, which one I belonged in. Eventually, I learned to suppress the future to a degree and then it was possible for me to live a normal life.
I went off to school as an ordinary child. I jumped and ran, I had many friends. I liked to learn and I always received the highest marks. Of course, I’d like to credit all of them to my natural intelligence, but that would be a lie. Tests and quizzes were never difficult when I could just peer into the future, a few days hence and check what the correct answers were. I never had to study, though I did feel guilty sometimes and forced myself to. I truly believed my special vision was a gift from God. I paid my own way through college and became known and cursed by a hundred different bookmakers and race-tracks around the country. Of course, I deliberately lost some money, to avoid suspicion, but I always won more than I lost, much more. And in college, as before, I always received the highest grades. I graduated with honors and off I went into the world. The business profession embraced me and with my unique talents, I was considered a financial wizard. My career paid me handsomely and with certain investments, I was able to secure a high standard of living. There was only one other aspect of my life that needed to be changed.
When I saw Mary for the first time, my co-workers believed I was having a stroke or seizure for I went rigid and their actions went unnoticed. I’m sorry, I didn’t mention that I met Mary three days before she met me. Her beauty enchanted my soul and instantly I knew she was the one I was destined to spend the rest of my life with. Those three days before our first meeting, I frantically followed her life with my mind, discovering her wants and desires, transforming myself into the perfect man for her. When we finally met, face to face, it was love at first sight. We were married and aided by my sight, I made sure that her every whim was catered to. I always knew what she wanted, even before she knew she wanted it sometimes. However, even without my gift, I believe we would’ve been very happy together. She loved me for what I gave her from myself rather than the material items she received. We truly were made for each other. We passed through the exciting years of youth and I was looking forward to growing old with her, but it wasn’t to be.
I awoke one morning in a puddle of cold sweat, a nightmare still fresh in my mind. There was an accident. I tried to shake it from my head, but I wasn’t fast enough. In the wreckage of a car, I saw my wife. She was going to die. At first, I tried to ignore my vision, but it was unlike any other that I had ever experienced. The image of my wife lying on the soft shoulder of a dark and dismal road haunted my consciousness more and more. And every time I saw my wife during those last days… I can’t even describe what I felt towards her. The dilemma inside me began to work on both of us and our relationship. I grew more and more distant, I couldn’t bear to be in her presence. Then, on the night she was to die, I caught her trying to leave. I must have seemed insane, crying for her to stay but shrinking back if she tried to comfort me. Perhaps I was insane. My attempts to keep her from driving away eventually made her flee in terror. I returned to the house in a daze, my memories of the past and future melted together, creating the sequence of cause and effect. I was expecting the phone call from the police, I had already answered it once before. But the reality, the knowledge that my wife was dead, that nearly killed me. And I was her murderer. I knew then that my vision was not a gift, but a curse.
That night is more than thirty years in the past, but the feelings, that great emptiness and despair has been thrust upon me with increasing frequency as my loves, my friends and acquaintances, all I have known over the years have grown old and died. Each time, I have seen their deaths, how and when, three days in advance. Each time, it is like a knife being stabbed deep into my chest and prying out my soul. The impossible task of ignoring future events and continuing my normal relations with the walking dead has reduced me to a mere husk of a man, empty and without feelings. The only emotion I could still generate was intense hatred of my cursed sight, and now, even that has left me.
I was shaving in my bathroom three mornings ago when I realized, for the first time in my life, I was alone. I was a solitary entity mired in one moment of time. I cried out in terror at first, and then in rejoice. It’s a curious feeling, where every moment of life is a surprise, I wish I had more time to explore it further, but as we both know, this is my final hour.
I had my last vision three days ago. I saw you crawl through the window, I checked it this morning to make sure it was unlocked. And I know about the knife that is hidden under the folds of your shirt. That surprises you? Perhaps, I have finally convinced you of the truth of my story. I would be thankful if you could make it swift, the carotid artery? Don’t worry, I’ll make no trouble. Do what’s expected of you… what you are destined to… kill me. I have been expecting you.