Perception

January 16, 2018
By , New York, NY

“Are you hungry?” the man asks, crouching low to the ground. He wears an old, dark green shirt, khaki shorts and no shoes. His tanned skin shows that he has been out in the fields without proper shelter for a long time, and his thin frame shows that he probably has been eating weeds the entire time.


“Here, come here,” he says, holding forth a leaf of lettuce to a white rabbit with red eyes. “Come here, don’t be shy,” he tries again. The rabbit looks at him and turns around, hopping towards a field of daisies instead.
“Geez,” he sighs, as he pushes himself up. “I was just trying to be nice,” he mutters to himself, dusting the grass off his knees.


“It doesn’t like you,” a cold voice startles him.


He spins around and is met with a teenage girl, who appears to be 15 or 16 years old. She is dressed in a frilly, long dress that reaches her ankles. Her hair is pressed into perfect curls. She wears shoes that can’t possibly be comfortable to walk in and lipstick that is redder than roses.


He turns away from her as he pops the rejected piece of lettuce into his mouth, “What do you want?”


“Answers.” She demanded, brows furrowed and arms crossed.


His eyes flickers over to her for a couple of seconds. “Yeah, of?” He shifts his gaze back to the head of lettuce in his lap.


“You know,” she says cooly to the back of his head. She is greeted with silence and the gentle sound of wind as it tousles tall grass. She sighs and rolls her eyes. “What is my future? I want to know.”


“You know I can’t tell you that.”


“Why?” She demands. “It’s not because you can’t.”


He scratches his temple and adjusts his legs to a more comfortable position. “No, you’re right,” he begins.


“Then why?” She interrupts. “Why can’t you tell me then? What do you want? Do you want diamonds? I have diamonds! Do you want rubies? I have them by the millions! Pearls? Emeralds?” She knows her voice is getting increasingly louder but she can’t bring herself to care. She had already lost her composure when she decided to come here, but she didn’t expect even more obstacles to be in her way.


“I don’t want any of those things,” he says calmly, turning around to face her.


“Then what do you want?” She asks tightly. She could not understand why he couldn’t just tell her. It makes her want to pull out her hair. To mess it from its perfectly styled position so that it matches the frustration that she is feeling.


He studies her face intently. “Why do you want to know so badly?” he asks instead. 


She pauses. She thinks of lonely days spent alone in the cafeteria of her school. Of jeers and hushed whispers that she knows are about her. She thinks of tear-stained pillow cases. Of flipping over her tests quickly when she got them back as to not let anyone else glimpse at her grade. She thinks of the project and the three midterms she had on Wednesday. She thinks of the after school Swim Meet on Tuesday, knowing that she will start her work late once she got home. She thinks of everything she needs to do, and she swallows and takes a few jagged breaths.


“Because I hate my life,” she says through gritted teeth, barely audible.


“And how does knowing your future help?” he asks.


“I want to know if it gets better.”


“And what if it doesn’t?”


“What?” She breathes.


“What if it doesn’t?” He repeats.


She looks at him with dilated pupils. He looks back with an emotionless expression.


“If it doesn’t…”


“Will you kill yourself?” he asks, shrugging his shoulders.


“I…” she says, tears falling on their own. “I..”


She swallows. His emotionless gaze makes her uncomfortable, so she averts her eyes elsewhere. She looks to her left and sees a white rabbit with red eyes. It tosses them curious glances and eyes the head of lettuce near them. She watches it pull off a daisy petal with its large, front teeth and the rapid movement of its cheeks as it shreds it up.


“Well?”


She looks back at him. He is staring at her again with the same unnervingly blank expression. She takes a large breath and lets it go slowly.


“Yes.”


He raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”


“Yes, if it doesn’t get better.” She bites her bottom lip and tries to stifle the developing sob.


“Then that is your fate.” he says. “Why did you come here?”


She scrunches her eyebrows together. “What do you mean? I came to know if my future gets better.”


“No, you came here to know if you should take your future away,” he says. “And you said yes. So that is your future.”


“But if my future is good, then I wouldn’t take it away.” She argues, brushing the back of her hand against her cheek to whisk away her tears.


“But the future changes all the time,” he says. “If you decide to take it away when it gets bad, then that is your future.”


“What?” She cried. She could not believe it. He had played with her feelings. “You are Future! You make the future and you can tell it!”


“Yes, but the future is also what you want to make of it.” he replies.


She narrows her eyes. She did not come for a deep, philosophical conversation. She came for answers. She glares at his eyes, blank and unblinking. She glares as what he said repeats through her head. It’s what you want to make of it. She notices that he is not as thin as she originally thought. He has a fair amount of muscle on his body. She notices that his shirt is not worn at all and his shorts are not torn. She notices that even though he doesn’t wear shoes, his feet are not calloused, but are soft from the grass. She notices that Future is not bad at all. And she sighs and stops glaring.


“Look.” His eyes soften as he gestures to his side. “Even rabbits know not to take anything from Future.”


She looks to her left, and sees the white rabbit, shyly looking at them again, chewing a daisy petal.






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