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My Future Self

My future self is already regarding these as the worst days of my life. He says, “The absolute pits.”

“When do I start talking this way?” I ask him. After all, my future self is me. More exactly, he’s an impending version of me. When I get to where he is, he’ll be long gone. Etc.

Then he lets it slip I no longer own my own business.

“You serious?” I ask, overlooking the more interesting questions of 1.) Why would a forthcoming rendition of me make up that kind of thing? and 2.) How does losing my business contribute to a better personal tomorrow?

Future self isn’t saying. Details are hard to come by with him. Left to speculate, I leap at the idea that I sold or merged, but pinning down a scenario in which this might occur isn’t as easy as envisioning computers and file cabinets moved into a storage unit in the middle of the night, and then a beam of mid-morning sun pouring past the For Rent sign in the office window to land on the bluish commercial carpeting where outlines of desks are still visible, the desks themselves donated to charity or sold for pennies or burned in a pyre on which I plan to immolate… I don’t know, something important, a tribute to the gods of my dismay.

Future self also doesn’t tell me my new means of winning bread. He drops names I don’t recognize, refers to unfamiliar routines. I infer it’s a marginally better job, this new one—stress-wise, money-wise. It has to be, these being the worst days of my life and all.

And then my future self says something about how great he feels.

“Can I look forward to sleeping through the night? I ask.

Son of bitch gives me an ambivalent grin.

“A diet short on foods with the suffix “lover”?”

He doesn’t follow, though he should.

“I’m talking about replacing baconlover and cheeselover with things I’ve heard about but have no firsthand knowledge of, like quinoa and acai berries?”

Still, he says nothing.

“What about the vomiting?”

He knows damn well what I mean but gives no indication one way or the other. I’ve been on a bi-weekly streak of seemingly unprovoked vomits. All I know for sure is that
my body is trying to rid itself of certain things inside me. Also, there might be a correlation between the vomiting and the crying jags. I can’t even bring myself to ask about this.

But could it be that my future self is talking about renewed emotional health, or intellectual health? That would nice, provided intellectual health entails more than a savant-like compiling of college football statistics. Though, as far as compilations go, I suppose it’s less dangerous than the retention of memories which indicate that I, for whatever reason, enjoying loitering on the wrong side of the bell curve.

“What about spiritual health?”

Future self and I have a good laugh over that one. My business isn’t the only thing facing bankruptcy.

Next he shows me a photograph: me, in my kitchen. I’m ladling food, a stew or something likewise hearty, from a steaming pot into two bowls. I’m smiling. The kitchen looks recently scrubbed, my teeth too. Though this moment hasn’t happened yet, I intuit that there is a woman in the other room, that she is the recipient of the other bowl, possibly the smile.

“Does this mean that she moved back in?” I ask.

Tightlipped as usual, is future self.

“If it is her, what prompted the decision? Tell me that.” She’s not speaking to me right now, but on the whole I consider our relationship… I don’t know, what’s a word that means not entirely defunct? More than half of her belongings are still here and I’ve been using the fifty percent mark as a fulcrum on which the scale of our union teeters. Then again, what if it’s someone else? What percentage of that person’s belongings is here?

So my future self is, in his baffling way, telling me it gets better. But maybe he just hints at stuff because ultimately he’s full of shit and blowing smoke. He’s not malicious, I don’t think, just doing what he can to keep me going. It could be that what is in store for me isn’t better or worse. Could be not much different from the living purgatory of today, an existence I compare unfavorably against those of my acquaintances, the people drifting through my life like the flotsam they are, while the ones who I consider real friends are, I now realize, really friends with a past me.

I hope he’s only giving me glimpses because the true future is too unrecognizably awesome for me to conceive in my current state. If I saw it in its fullness I wouldn’t believe it. Following a meteoric rise, I will float above the detritus of the past, which sadly is what I call my day to day. Then all will be well?

Not so fast. My future self’s future self is telling him don’t get too comfy. Something about another reversal.

“A third side to the coin? How is that possible?”

“Don’t ask me,” my future self finally says.

“Just give me something I can use.”

But he’s got nothing. In fact he’s gone, leaving me to get back to my groping and meandering way. I’m not surprised. What more should I expect from myself?


Aaron Jacobs  writing has appeared in the Foundling Review, Atticus Review, and Umbrella Factory Magazine, among other place.  He wrote and produced the short film, Foul.


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