“As always I leave the interpretation of the prompt up to you the only thing I ask is that you describe the oracle vividly.”
I was always a little weird; okay a lot weird. It didn’t help that I could catch blurry glimpses of the future. (Got the needed glasses at that point.)
Telling people their “fortunes” resulted in ugly responses. I kept the secret and myself as invisible as possible. I wasn’t a geek, dork or a nerd. I wore the same clothes as other girls; I added something to the style. I wanted to unique, a style trend-setter and invisible at the same time!
I won’t dwell on the angst of my school years. But my “futuristic” talent remained untapped. I didn’t stop seeing things; I got better at shutting them out. In university, I really did blossom. I came out of hiding; made friends; went on dates; and didn’t do too badly with course work either. I wore clothes and colors that suited my complexion. I tended toward dangly earrings and wrists full of bracelets and bangles. Brocade or embroidered vests, long, sweeping scarves.
But this is when my talent became a dangerous, two-edged sword. Feeling comfortable and secure, I had begun to read some of the messages from the future. I often had to break codes, I had a bookmark for Wikipedia, and feel asleep in the basement reference room . . . a lot.
The messages were random events involving people, times, and space I didn’t know, or understand. Still a bit veiled by wispy mist. As long as it was 3rd party voyeurism, I thought, what the heck – got some great creative writing essays from my line to the future.
The first time the message was as clear as a summer sky, I got scared. This was my time, my place, and I knew the people. I shut down at once. I wasn’t ready to experience the “fortunes” of my friends. I remembered back to when I first learned my lesson not to tell anyone, ever!
I couldn’t keep them from coming at night. Falling asleep allowed a tiny crack for my visions to sneak through. I’d wake up with scraps of a future glued to my brain. I could use my talent for good: counseling someone to go a certain path; subtly bringing two people together; warn of danger; bad relationships; abusive marriages.
There was a darker side. I could use the knowledge to know the exam questions and answers before finals, and mix up people’s minds about what to study for. I could “foresee” which horse might win the Triple Crown, which stock would go through the roof.
But, I soon realized the future ruled. I couldn’t conjure up a particular event, person, time or space. I would try meditation, yoga, guided imagery and just plan fantasying. I didn’t find good or bad; just snippets of the future. Random. Fragile. I was the receiver, not the generator.
I didn’t care anymore. I skipped more classes than I attended, my marks were dreadful, and I was hanging out with dangerous people. I knew I was on the edge, one step and I would float down into the abyss and not have to know about other people’s futures. Futures that I’m not sure I had any control over.
Dropped out of university. I changed my look. Skin tight black jeans, brief tops, leather biker jacket, boots with heels, multiple gold chains and bangles. My hair was now short, and sometimes, spiky. Smokey eyes, contacts, and an attitude.
Late one evening, I was sitting at the bar at one of sleazy bars I frequented. The bartender Igor would often front me a drink, or make me laugh when I looked too down. Tonight was slow, so Igor and I talked a lot. There was one other person at the bar. Hunched over his drink, eyes staring at the bar as if it was the most special and beautiful thing in the world.
Suddenly, he turned at looked at me. He had the most incredible deep blue eyes. I could see the bar reflected in them. Other than that, he was unremarkable. His clothes, trendy, but wrinkled. His coat must have been from the Sally Ann – it looked like it had seen many owners before him.
He asked if he could join me. I nodded, the JD hitting my stomach and brain at the same time. After another JD, I asked him up to my place. Somehow that seemed the right thing to do. Maybe it was those eyes.
I opened the door, and gestured him ahead. He took off his ragman’s coat and carefully hung it on the hook by the door. I started to make coffee as he settled into one of the comfy chairs.
“Strong, hot, and cut with whipping cream; my specialty,” I quipped as I put the steaming cups down on the packing crate table. He sat back, blowing on his coffee to cool it. I couldn’t think of anything to say.
Fumbling, I asked, “Whadda do to get by?” thinking of his coat.
“I’m an Oracle,” he replied after a sip of coffee.
“Oh, I thought that company got bought out,” trying to keep the conversation flowing.
“I don’t work for Oracle,” he sighed. “I am an Oracle, a very very tired Oracle in need of a protracted vacation.”
Not sure what to follow that statement up with, I offered, “Then, why don’t you quit?”
“Can you?,” he answered, seeing my reflection in those incredible eyes.
“Quit what?,” though I remembered where I’d seen eyes like that before. A subtle, shadowy figure, outside of the action with eyes that shot through the gloom.
“You’ve been stalking me!”
“I suppose, in a sense, I have. But only to see how talented you might be.”
I changed the subject, “Well, no wonder you’re tired. I mean people coming to you with questions, then all the other future stuff.”
“No,” he said leaning across the table towards me. “Then, you only see when people ask, rest of the time, your mind is mostly your own.”
“All Oracles are connected through time and space with our interwoven minds. What were your earliest visions like?”
“They were foggy, fuzzy, out of sync, I had to do research as I got older to put some sort of context for what I was ‘seeing.’”
“So,” he said, leaning closer. “When did you see things clearly?”
“When I recognized the people in them.”
“Those earlier visions were the result of you seeing into other Oracles’ futures. Some faulty wiring, modems not plugged in. It happens.”
I felt like a cold finger was tracing the outline of my heart. I realized my hands were shaking. I sat on them to appear more confident and knowledgeable.
“Are you suggesting that I fill in for you while you’re on vacation for how long?” I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy the answer.
“I’m thinking of taking early retirement, actually. People who need your services will find you. Focus on the past before the future. Sometimes you need to know the way backward before you can go forward.”
I found myself, to my horror, nodding along like this was a lesson or something.
“Don’t sugar coat what you see. The asker needs to know the current path to the future. That path may be diverted with knowledge. Or it may crumble. You only see, you don’t predict; you don’t promise anything. Don’t critique what you saw. If they ask for interpretation, you tell them that they asked for a vision of the future, not for a thesis on it.”
Leaning back again, with a smile growing across his face. Ultimately it’s up to the coat.”
“Yes, you see if the coat fits, then you are the next Oracle.”
Somewhere around there I feel asleep. I know, an exciting topic, an half-decent guy, and I zonk out.
Sun was streaming into the attic’s windows. I turned my face away – too bright for my eyes. It seemed like all of last night was just a strange dream. Rather than a vision of someone’s future, what had crept through the cracks was a crazy dream.
Perhaps, my mysterious guest had never been here. He certainly wasn’t now. I started the roll to get up. Hanging next to my door, on a hook, was his coat. A coat last night at least 3 sizes too big for me. So, I wasn’t the Oracle – it was just part of a dream. He’d left the coat as an excuse to come back. Or a way to get rid of it.
I padded across the room, and picked the coat off the hook. Holding it out at arms length, noting all the patches and patterns; the fingerprints of other Oracles. Ya know, I think the coat would fit me just fine.
Ending: He said the oracle coat always fit it’s wearer. I took the coat off the hook and held it out at arms length. The coat would fit me just fine.