Future Imperfect

Paperback | April 26, 2011

byK. Ryer Breese

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Ade Patience can see the future and it's destroying his life. When the seventeen-year-old Mantlo High School student knocks himself unconscious, he can see days and decades into his own future. Ade's the best of Denver's "divination" underground and eager to join the heralded Mantlo Diviners, a group of similarly enabled teens. Yet, unlike the Diviners, Ade Patience doesn't see the future out of curiosity or good will; Ade gives himself concussions because he's addicted to the high, the Buzz, he gets when he breaks the laws of physics. And while there have been visions he's wanted to change, Ade knows the Rule: You can't change the future, no matter how hard you try.

His memory is failing, his grades are in a death spiral, and both Ade's best friend and his shrink are begging him to stop before he kills himself. Ade knows he needs to straighten-out. Luckily, the stunning Vauxhall Rodolfo has just transferred to Mantlo and, as Ade has seen her in a vision two years previously, they're going to fall in love. It's just the motivation Ade needs to kick his habit. Only things are a bit more complicated. Vauxhall has an addiction of her own, and, after a a vision in which he sees Vauxhall's close friend, Jimmy, drown while he looks on seemingly too wasted to move, Ade realizes that he must break the one rule he's been told he can't.

The pair must overcome their addictions and embrace their love for each other in order to do the impossible: change the future.

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Ade Patience can see the future and it's destroying his life. When the seventeen-year-old Mantlo High School student knocks himself unconscious, he can see days and decades into his own future. Ade's the best of Denver's "divination" underground and eager to join the heralded Mantlo Diviners, a group of similarly enabled teens. Yet, un...

K. Ryer Breese lives in Denver and is a critic for American Movie Classics at Filmcritic.com.

other books by K. Ryer Breese

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Kobo ebook|Nov 8 2011


Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.72 inPublished:April 26, 2011Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312641516

ISBN - 13:9780312641511

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


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ONEMr. von RavengateRaven’s Magikal Gifts, Aurora MallAurora, COThanks for the letter, Heinz.Off the bat, I should mention I’m not religious. My mom’s super into Jesus, but that really hasn’t rubbed off on me. Not to say I’d dig Satanism either. Sorry, but that’d kill my mom. Stroke for sure. Good to know you find it meaningful though, and, hey, I am intrigued about the whole Atlantis psychic thing. But not so much the goat with a thousand eyes business.Anyway, to answer a few of your questions:1. No. I’ve never seen any strange vistas that resemble Yes album covers. I’ve never seen a Yes album cover. I just see the future and it looks pretty much like now.2. No. No demons. Or Daemons. Or whatever.3. Sure, there are Rules. Two major ones, really. Seeing the future’s the easy part; the hard part’s what comes after. It’s breaking the Rules that’s tough. These Rules, they’re mine. Didn’t take long for me to figure them out either.Rule No. 1. The future can’t be changed once it’s been seen.See, it’s not like on television or in the movies. It’s not racing against the clock to make sure that x (the car, the tree, the cat, the ax, the bus, the moon) doesn’t fall on y (the girl, the baby, the cat, the house, the church, the school). There’s no shouting into the phone trying to convince the police of something. What I see, it always happens. Always.Rule No. 2. If you ignore Rule No. 1 and try to change the future, you’ll end up only making a mess of things.This is the sucky part. I’ve got all sorts of stories about things going really wrong when playing superhero. Once, I saw this guy die in a fire, just him wearing a suit of flames. Took me a long time to figure out who the dude was but when I did, I called him anonymously and warned him. Told him it would happen in like a week or so. The dude just totally freaked out, got off the phone, jumped in his car, and crashed into a semi. Burned to a crisp. Voilà. Twice I tried to change things directly. Both times ended badly. Really really badly.4. Exactly. Directional. If I focus hard enough, kind of clear my mind and then push down hard, you know, like when you focus on something really close to your eyes, the way those hidden picture posters work, then I can see really far out. Like decades. If I don’t, if I just let the hit happen and not try to focus in, then I see maybe weeks out. Days. Once, even hours. But I try to avoid doing that. Doesn’t have the same, well, effect.5. Yes.6. Like in comics? No. Once, I tried. You know, got a suit at a costume shop and tried to stop this dude from getting stabbed outside Rock Island. See answer #3 as to what happened.7. Nope. Far as I know, I’m the only person who can do this. I’ve never seen anyone else, never met anyone else. Who knows though, right? Maybe there are some other freaks out there.Dude, sorry I can’t be of any help regarding your “transitional journeys” and “black magic manifesto.” And I can’t focus in and see if your novel will get published and become a bestseller. Really, it doesn’t work like that.Heinz, why I’ve been writing to you is because I need some help. If you were to consult your “alchemical tomes” and “dark scrolls,” ask a few minor devils or whatnot, do you think you could tell me how I can change the future once I’ve seen it? Can you tell me how I can break the rules?Thanks, Heinz.And love the cape.Ade PatienceTWOLast night at the All Souls Chapel I told my mom’s Jesus friends I had a knockout summer.“Knock. Out,” I said all slow. “Know what I mean?”Mom knew what I meant and gave me a thumbs-up.Her pals, they just nodded and smiled.In their eyes, I’m such a freaking good kid.When summer break started I actually did keep things simple. For a while, anyway. Nothing too bold, nothing exceptionally daring. Not like what I’d done over winter break. There were the usual fights; mostly it was East football players and a couple run-ins with the bikers you always find outside the Piper Inn. And, yeah, I was black and bruised, bloodied even, but that’s par for the course. Wasn’t until mid-month that I decided to kick things up a notch. You know, experiment a bit.Do stuff the All Souls Chapel ladies would find, well, worrisome.There’s this half-pipe at the Denver Skate Park that I’d had my eye on for like months. It’s typical, concrete and tagged all over, maybe six feet at the top. I’d skated off it before and liked the way it bottomed out. Smooth. It was afternoon, hot day, and the sky was bright and blue and cloudless. They won’t let you in without a deck or a helmet, so I brought both just for the show of it. Once I was at the top of the half-pipe I tossed my deck, let my helmet roll down to the bottom, and then I took a deep breath and dove.Yeah, dove.I didn’t jump. I pulled a move like I was diving into a swim pool with my arms at my sides. Looked pretty impressive too. Up, arc, and then down. Took a lot of training, and I’m talking a lot, to get to the point that I can dive like that and not put my hands out in front of me to break the fall at the last second. My wrists, I’ve broken them maybe five times. But that day everything went perfect.The sound my head made when it hit that concrete, it was priceless.The concussion felt almost as good as being in love.The skate park, it joins a long list of places I’m not allowed back at.Ever.Rest of May I wasn’t quite as clever. A few car accidents, several bike crashes, and a fairly decent brawl in the Cherry Creek Mall.Those concussions were good but not great.In June I decided to push things even further.I paid a guy five bucks to hit me in the back of the head with a two-by-four in the vacant lot behind the train station. I was hit by a car and went flying thirty-two feet on Hampden in front of the Whole Foods. Threw myself down one of those long staircases at the Performing Arts Complex. Even took a bike off the side of the Millennium Bridge.After that it was hard going back to the usual.The “accidents” just weren’t delivering.My best friend, Paige, she was not at all happy. I can’t even count how many times she threatened to ditch me. How many times she called me the most selfish person she’d ever met after seeing me at the hospital. How many times she suggested I just go ahead and schedule the lobotomy the usual way. How many times she cried and hit me.The All Souls Chapel ladies, they’d never understand this. My mom, she gets it because I’m her only kid and I’m giving her what she wants. My coma dad, if he was awake I’m sure he might have had a problem with it all. Guess we’ll never know.Anyway, early July is when I sort of reached a peak.It had been a slow day, I’d made the rounds downtown, trying to jump in front of the mall buses, but they were all going too slow to do anything but knock me down. I entertained the thought of getting hit by a light-rail train but didn’t want to get mangled. So I wound up at Monaco Lanes Bowling.Good thing the Skins were there.I’d seen these particular skinheads at the bowling alley before. There was the one with the Mohawk and the combat boots and the older, pudgy one with the really lame mustache. All told there were five including a girl and she was wearing tons of mascara and had a swastika tattoo on her neck.The day had been such a bust I figured this would be fairly easy.I walked in and got some shoes and a ball and then took a lane a few over from the skinhead gang. This was maybe at two in the afternoon and besides me and the punks the place was pretty much empty. A lone bowler at the end in a bowling jersey like he really took the sport seriously and the guy working the counter.I threw a few gutter balls and got antsy.I was thinking of what to yell over to these Skins, eager to get the show going, when one of them, the pudgster with the caterpillar on his lip, shouted over, “Why are you even trying? You suck.”This was my opening and I walked over to them, them all standing up, eyes narrowed, putting on their violent faces, and poked the pudgy dude in the chest. I said, “I might suck, but not as much as your mom does when I’m visiting her in the nursing home.”And voilà! The magic happened. The girl hit me with her bowling ball in the lower back. That kicked my breath out, and knocked me to the floor, and then the Mohawk dude just started stomping. Actually, all of them just started stomping. So predictable. I was out fast.Unconscious for nearly two days.Saw footage of the beat down on the news the evening I woke up in the hospital. Those skinheads sure were inventive after I was unconscious. One of them slid me hard down the lane and I hit the bowling pins something terrible. Got a strike for sure. This video, last time I checked it, had a million plus views online. Good to know I can provide some entertainment.Last night, if my mom’s Friends-in-Christ at the All Souls Chapel heard all this, they’d have freaked out. They’d have laughed, wondering if I was joking, and then, when they saw I was serious, gone all pale and walked away. I’ve seen that so many times.I started my junior year at Mantlo High two weeks ago.Summer’s gone and I’m stuck chasing down concussions at school. Pretty much just guarantees me getting suspended a whole grip of times. But this year, it’s going to be different. This year, it will be the best year of my life. The year where everything changes. I know because I’ve already seen it.Fact is: I don’t hit my head for the pain. This isn’t some masochistic thing.I have a gift. A power.I am an oracle.A soothsayer.When my head gets rocked, when my skull cracks and my brain bounces, there is this tunnel of light that appears and in my mind I dive down into it. This tunnel, it doesn’t lead to Heaven or some other universe, it leads to what comes next.When I get a concussion I can see into the future.THREESo it makes sense that in about forty-five seconds I’m going to jump off the roof of my school.It’s about two stories up and I’m expecting a pretty major concussion.For me, this roof is a stepping-stone. Just like today and tomorrow are only heartbeats in the way of what’s coming.What’s next is all that matters.Fact is: When I’m not in the future the world just seems so slowed down.The right here, the right now, for me it’s like an ancient civilization.On the lawn right now, snacking on their lunches and guzzling sodas, making out and smoking, my fellow classmates are Romans and Greeks. They are soon to be fossils and ash sculptures from Vesuvius. Stuck in time the way trees are.But me, I’m always moving forward.How do I do it?How does me getting my head bashed in send me spinning into the future?Who knows?I’ve been writing to experts, people like doctors and physicists and philosophers, but none of them can give me a straight answer as to why. Either they don’t believe me or they feel sorry for me. Like, short bus sorry for me.All but one guy and he’s my shrink.His name is Dr. Reginald Borgo and he knows that what I can do is real. He’s mentioned to me that he’s seen others, people who can do some pretty spectacular shit, but I’ve yet to meet any of them. Borgo assures me they’re out there. That it’s just a matter of time. I should also mention that most medical professionals consider Borgo a quack. Figures, right?Thirty-six seconds from jumping and my sneakers are already half off the roof.I’m moving out of Denver.I’m quickly moving out of my junior year at Mantlo High School.I’m moving away from my coma father and my Jesus-obsessed mother.But I’m going to get into all that soon enough.Today, it’s the roof and the ground and my eyes on the prize: When She and I are together and moving toward what comes next at lightning speed.Who is She?Only the most astonishing girl in the world. I’ve only ever seen Her once and it wasn’t now. Like not in the present. I don’t know Her name or where She’s from. I saw Her in a vision in eighth grade, one of my very first visions, and I know that we’ll be in love. As cheesy as it sounds, I know this girl’s the one.Us meeting will be classic.Blockbuster.Twenty-one seconds.How it’ll go down is like this: She will walk into the lunchroom with Jimi Ministry like they own the place and She’ll get on top of a table. Jimi’ll beat-box and She, standing there bright as a burning building, will sing. Yeah, She’ll sing.Her voice will be low and smoky and start almost like a whisper.She’ll sing, “Your own personal Jesus … Someone to hear your prayers…”And then She’ll move over to me. Me sitting there enraptured.“Your own personal Jesus…”And I won’t feel myself stand but will see my perspective change as I rise up above the table and over my little lesbian friend Paige’s sloping shoulders. It’ll feel like I’m going to float to the ceiling, but I’ll stop, caught up in that voice. She and I, we’ll stand there, staring into each other, for what will seem like millennia. Clouds’ll swirl, mountain ranges’ll rise and crumble to dust, oceans’ll swallow land and then retreat, leaving lakes and sinuous rivers, and dubbed on top of it all will be this girl’s voice.It’ll be epically sick.But I realize now there’ll be a little wrinkle in our whirlwind romance. This is because Jimi Ministry is there with Her. He’s an asshole. And the fact that he introduces Her, well, I didn’t know it a year ago but I know now that it’s not good. I can’t put my finger on it, but things could get ugly. With Jimi, that would make sense.Ten seconds.Below me no one looks up.Below me it’s just the ground rushing.I’ve spent two years of sleepless, clammy nights waiting for Her to arrive.Six seconds.Good thing I noticed the calendar in the vision. Right there on the wall just under the poster of the food pyramid. The date I’ve been counting down to for twenty-four months is August 10, 2010.Three seconds.Want to know the best part?August 10, 2010, is tomorrow.FOURIt’s an old joke, but it’s true: Jumping off a roof is easy; it’s the landing that’s hard.I need to land on the lawn.Last time, the time that Nancy Springer saw me and puked, I missed the lawn by two feet and hit the bike rack. Took twenty-seven stitches to get my scalp back on.Today, I’m feeling confident.My aim is good.There is a fury of wind.The flapping of my clothes.And then, well, forget the rolling, skip the falling on your side, the key to me making this a successful journey into my near future is by hitting my head at just the right angle and not busting up the globe of it too bad. From what I’ve read on the Internet, I’m guessing that giving the “dorsolateral prefrontal associative” area a decent wallop is what makes the magic happen.Smack.Crunch.Going unconscious, it’s like standing in an explosion.Most times, like this time, I find myself in a tunnel. I go down the tunnel and the lights whiz by me and then, where it ends, the light parts and I dive into the darkness between.It’s dizziness and sleep and then only pure, beautiful, matte black.And I open my eyes to the future.Today, what I see is me ten years in the future. How I know it’s the future is because things look plastic. Not twisted or distorted the way they do it up in the movies. No CGI, no carnival colors. Just plastic like you’re in the suburbs. Plastic the way the waxed-up leaves are on the zebra bushes in the planters by the play space at the Cherry Creek Mall. My skin is shiny. My body feels so much more malleable.And in this plastic future I seem happy.Really happy.I’m walking downtown, still Denver. This time I’m wearing a suit and it’s very sunny and I can feel the first pinpricks of sweat popping up in the small of my back. I think about taking off my coat but don’t because I’m turning the corner and now I’m on the shady side of another street. Downtown is busy. Cars pulling people places. Buses heaving back and forth on the mall. This must be spring because the sun is small and tight in the sky and the air smells like rain though there are no clouds anywhere. I walk into an office building and wave to someone, a woman with brown hair and thick-framed glasses sitting at a small desk, and then take an elevator to the fiftieth floor. When I get out, I stand at a bank of windows and admire the hustle and bustle of downtown, the mountains where there is snow.In this vision I’ve got a backpack on but it’s not heavy. No one mentions it.I take a flight of stairs to fifty-one and walk through a maze of offices where people wave at me. Then I walk out onto a balcony. I’m sweating more, but it’s not from the heat.What I do next is I climb up onto the railing.I stand there for a few seconds, swaying gently, my arms outstretched, just balancing on this two-inch-wide tube of metal. I’m thinking I’m glad it’s not a windy day.And then I jump.I fall face-first.Arms at my side the way soldiers drop out of planes in the movies. The wind’s rushing up into my eyes and ears, grabbing at my hair and making my cheeks float open like the cheeks of astronauts do when they’re in simulation machines.The backpack, it’s a parachute.I don’t pull the cord until I’m fifty seconds from hitting pavement; I time it on my wristwatch. And when I do pull the cord, and the chute explodes behind me, I’m smiling so wide that I can see the white of my teeth reflected into the dark windows of the office buildings as I rush past them.The way the chute’s set up, my fall won’t be totally broken.I’m going to hit the ground and hit it hard.My future: It’s just me getting crazier and crazier.I’m guessing I have the ultimate concussion from the fall. How crazy is it that I see myself in the future jumping off a roof just to see the future? I assume that I don’t actually die. Maybe I do. Can you imagine the future I’ll see in those few split seconds before my soul jets skyward? Must be like a thousand years in the future.I don’t see the landing.Instead of being there and finding out, I’m here with someone calling my name and I rocket back through the tunnel, the lights spastic. When the tunnel vanishes is when I open my eyes.My left eye, actually. The right one is swelled shut already.Everything’s blurry, but I’m on the ground at Mantlo High and there are people standing over me. I can see two of them shaking their heads.Already they’re shaking their heads.Me, back in the present, I’m on my back lying on some tossed cigarettes and wilted grass just after lunch has ended and everyone else at my high school is getting ready to go back to class. All of them have to walk past me as they go to physics and gym and whatever it is that Mr. O’Connor feels like teaching today in American history. Right now, they just think I’m a few concussions away from full vegetable. A few knockouts from the way my dad is.Someone, a girl, maybe Kristen LaFontaine, judging by the voice, says, “It’s only Tuesday and he’s already at it.”And someone else, someone gay, most likely Eric Hovda, says, “At least he waited until the second week of school. Don’t even know why they keep letting him come back.”I just close my eyes and try and let the vision drift back in.I wonder: What do I see next? Is She there too? Waiting for me in a getaway car?What happens after I hit that pavement?FIVEI’m woozy walking into school.I’m also bleeding from my head.This long stretch of crimson just shattering the nice white of my shirt.The way I’m walking, I look like a zombie.I barely notice because my body’s still jittery from the Buzz.The Buzz is what happens when I break the laws of physics, what happens when I see into the future. It’s getting a massive jolt of energy. Every nerve, every muscle fiber is jittery and on fire in the most beautiful way imaginable. It’s the equivalent of smoking a blunt, of downing some beers, of popping X, and then kissing.The Buzz is my high of choice.This is the second time this week I’ve gotten high via concussion.Right now, I’m trying to drink from the water fountain just outside Mr. Eveready’s office, and “trying” is the key word here as really all I’m doing is dribbling blood all over the hallway and trying to focus on working the fountain. Of course a hall monitor, David “Suck Up” Lopez, notices me.“Dude, seriously?” he asks. This is what he usually asks when he see me.Then he just points down the hall.“Before I need to call an ambulance,” he says.Second time this week I’ve been sent to see the school nurse, Mrs. Caronna.As expected, she’s totally not happy to see me.Sitting here, the cotton balls getting heavy with blood, my skin is still vibrating. My head, whether it’s from the concussion or the high, is heavy and light at the same time, the way a really big pillow can be super heavy and yet perfectly light. I nod off every few minutes, eyes just dim like a computer when it’s not been touched for a while.Caronna shakes me awake in her unloving way. “You think you can fly, Ade?”I shake my head.“Why did you jump off the roof?”Again, I shake my head. “Hard to explain.”“Try me.”I shrug. “An experiment?”The look on her face is pure disgust. Then she hands me her cell phone. “Dr. Borgo,” she says, and her lips are all puckered.I ask Mrs. Caronna for some privacy before I talk to my shrink and she gets up slowly, eyeballing me the whole while, before walking out and slamming the door.“Hey, Doc,” I say into the phone.“Ade? Jesus, are you okay?”“Yeah, of course. Just the usual. Doc, you’re the only person in the entire medical world who believes me. Don’t start doubting me now. That would kill—”“I’m not doubting you, Ade.”“What are you saying then?”“Can you at least take a few days off? Maybe a week? Nurse says you look like hell. Like you were hit with a baseball bat. Is that what happened? Again?”“No. I jumped off the roof. Again.”Into the phone, my shrink groans. “Ade, the number of concussions you’ve had puts you at significant risk for developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s. You’re seventeen and already your head has been bruised and battered like you were a prizefighter. Please, Ade, please, take a week off.”“I have the strange feeling you’ve told me this before.”“Memory loss isn’t something to joke about.”“Honestly, Doc. Promise I’ll be good. Any chance you can pacify the blowhards? They keep threatening me with expulsion and, well, this time I think they—”“I’ll see what I can do, Ade. Have your mom wake you every two hours tonight, don’t want you slipping off into a coma.”I can only imagine. “By the way, not sure if you remembered or not, but tomorrow’s the big day.”“I’ve got it marked on my calendar right here. Been marked for over a year.”“Well, it’s going down, Doc. My life changes tomorrow.”“If it happens, it sure will.”“Don’t be such a doubter, Doc.”I lean forward, open the door, and wave for Mrs. Caronna to come back to the phone. She storms back in huffing and puffing. Sweating and shaking. Veins popping out of her forehead like worms struggling out of puddles. She grabs the receiver and puts her head to it. She grunts a few times. Nods twice. Says, “Okay, Dr. Borgo. We’ll certainly take that into account. Yes. We do. Of course.”Then she hangs up and gives me this scary smile. “I don’t mean this to be offensive,” she says. “But one day I hope you break your neck.”SIXMom’s great about waking me during Concussion Time.She goes to bed early. Sets an alarm for every two hours and rocks me—hand on my shoulder since I sleep on my side—awake gently. Mom in her bathrobe with her big glasses on and her hair pulled back asks me, “Are you feeling sick?”Just the fact that I wake up means that I’ll be okay.Plopping herself down on the end of my bed, with the Revelation Book under her arm, Mom says, “I’m making short ribs again. With the brown sugar the way you like it.”I say, “Yum. With mashed potatoes?”“Garlic and Parmesan.”Mom opens the Revelation Book on her lap and licks the point of her pen and then looks at me, eyes wide, for me to bust out a new segment of my future history.“I’m downtown. Maybe ten years from now. Feel great,” I say.Mom scribbles it down. Asks, “Were you wearing the black suit?”I think back. Close my eyes. “Not sure.”Mom, back to writing, says, “Probably the black suit. If it’s ten years, then, yeah. You said it was warm but not hot, so most likely early May or maybe, at the earliest, mid-April. Get a sense of the direction of the sun. I mean, how were the shadows? Longer?”“Not sure, Mom.”Mom nods and keeps writing. Talking to herself out loud she says, “Fiftieth floor. Good sign.” And, “Woman at the desk is named Louise. You met her during the interview, right?”I just shrug, not sure.I describe the rest. The jump. The chute. Mom says, “You’re my little stuntman.” And she pats me on the head like I’m five.To make Mom happy, I add, “Also there was a cloud in the sky, looked just like a hand. I don’t know if this means anything, but it was pointing east.”This, it makes Mom swoon.See, my mom has my whole adult life mapped out.Every vision I’ve had of myself somewhere in the future, she’s written it down and traced it out the way explorers chart rivers. Since the visions are quick and nonlinear, she’s painstakingly pieced together a basic narrative over the past three years. “Basic” is the key word. Lots of times she just fills in the blanks with guesses.In her room, there’s one wall completely filled, top to bottom, with index cards. At the top of each card, a date. Each one a day in the life of my future self. There are sketches of clothes, of buildings. She’s got blueprints of rooms that I haven’t been in yet. Rooms that no one’s been in yet. Mom’s written it all down, this time line of me, looking for one thing: Jesus.She’s looking for the Rapture.The Second Coming.The Antichrist.All those good things.I think it started at her church, someone mentioning how there will be signs and portents for the Second Coming. Only, the key to seeing them was you had to know where to look. You had to be open to receiving them. Mom latched on to that idea something fierce. The past seven years she’s been looking everywhere for those signs, those portents, and found them in my visions. My visions, they’re like her road map to Heaven. Mom’s peek into the clockwork of God.Fact is: The visions in the Revelation Book are real.But the details that Mom writes down, mostly I just make those up to make her happy. I’ll make up the tiny miracles. The little portents. Like how my seeing a mule with three legs was a sure sign peace would be coming to the Middle East in a matter of years. Maybe as soon as three. I lay it out so that the chrysanthemum I saw was a sign that Grandma was well and smiling from up in Heaven. I feel bad every time I lie, but keep on doing it because Mom is always ecstatic. And when she’s ecstatic she’s so nice to be around. I’m cool playing the little golden goose.Tonight, sitting there writing away, Mom says, “It’s been two years, right?”“Yeah.”Mom, she smiles so hard it’s like she’s got the moon in her mouth.“Tomorrow will be so beautiful. Will you tell it to me again?”This is my mom, I oblige her.And once again I describe how it’ll happen, how the girl I’ve been dreaming about for twenty-four aching months will show up and sing to me, I hit all the beats, and for the first time this evening she looks up from her notebook and takes her glasses off. As I run through the story, she’s grinning and nodding. When I finish she sighs and rubs my head the way she did when I was just old enough to ride a Big Wheel.“The waiting is so hard,” Mom says. She frowns as though she really knows.“Yeah. It almost made me crazy.”“And what will you say to her?”“I’ve told you how this works. You know how this works. I just wait.”Mom tells me she’s very proud. She tells me that it’s clear that Jesus has special things planned for me. She says, “You are a very fine blessing. So very strong.”Then she stands up and straightens out her nightgown and leaves. Closing the door slowly, she whispers, “By the way, I’m sure your dad is very proud of you.”“Is very proud?”“Of course.”“Mom, Dad hasn’t been anything but a vegetable for three years. I don’t think he’s proud of me. I don’t think he’s proud of anything. Dad’s just a lump lying in a hospital bed, growing its hair and nails out.”The look on my mom’s face, it’s disappointment. It’s deep down, very hurt. Her face still scrunched up with emotion, wedged there in the door, Mom says, “He’s very, very proud of you.” And then the door closes and I turn the light out.Tomorrow, I say to myself. Tomorrow it will happen and my life will begin.Tomorrow. Copyright © 2011 by K. Ryer Breese