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A Date with Myself

“I come from the future,” she said in a sing-song tone that was both soothing and terrifying, as if one of the animatronic characters on a familiar Disney ride suddenly came to life. The woman looked eerily similar to my reflection but with sculpted thighs, making her stronger, faster, and more imposing than I had ever been.

I stared at her instead of engaging. 

As a rule, I don’t talk to strangers, and certainly not ones that appear to be from a different planet, another dimension, or pharmaceutical accident.

“I said, ‘I come from the future,’” she repeated with a hint of annoyance. I shrugged, hoping for more information.  The spectral version of me wore my favorite t-shirt dress-turned-nightgown. I hadn’t seen it since sleeping in it at my parents’ lake house over Memorial Day.

“I said,” she started again, crossing her arms.

“You came from the future. I heard you the first time,” I said, cutting her off.

She uncrossed her arms, put her hands on her hips and smiled broadly. “Jesus, is that what I look like when I smile?” I asked.

She nodded enthusiastically, her braid flopping about like a fish approaching its final moments. “That explains a lot,” I mumbled. It’s not as though I don’t own a mirror, I’d just never seen my own face expand into a giant lollipop of white teeth, clinched eyes, and full cheeks.

“An odd take away at a moment like this, don’t you think?” the future me asked, incredulous.

“Fair point,” I agreed. “But kinda hard to know just where to start, though.” With that, she turned around and started walking away without really touching the ground.  She motioned for me to follow. I really wanted my shirt back, so I obeyed.

She first appeared on the landing outside my apartment, but we were now strolling up the congested sidewalk in front of my building. Other people didn’t seem to notice the future me or her bare legs and feet.

I stayed a couple yards behind her and practiced running my hands over my face when I smiled.

My cheeks were so large and full, I couldn’t believe they didn’t impair my vision. I could already tell my vanity could turn into an obsession.

“Umm, can I ask where we are going?” I called to her. She stopped and turned to face me, passersby navigating around us.

“That is so you. ‘Where are we going?’ That’s so literal! You’re not curious about anything else?” asked the future me.

“I kind of assumed this was a dream. I haven’t partaken of any substance other than Diet Coke in over a year, so it can’t be a trip. No reason to think you’re a foreigner, this planet or another. So…” It was my turn to cross my arms. “I’m thinking I just had one glass of chardonnay too many.”

She rolled her eyes and pulled on the end of her braid, just like I was doing.

“Okay, fine. How about… Who are you and what are you doing here? And in my shirt?” I finally gave in.

“Everyone gets this. Just depends on when you’re… ready.”

“Ready?! I seem ready for this?”

“Yes. You’re ready. In fact, you’re kind of a late bloomer. Most of your friends have already done this. Your little brother was 9 when his future self visited.”

“He never said anything! And that turd can’t keep a secret.” I was pissed.

“That’s all part of it. You are prohibited from sharing it. In fact, you’ll likely forget this in a few days, but the important messages will be deep within you. I mean, who’d believe you anyway, right?” the future me said, palms uplifted to punctuate her rhetorical question. I’m kind of adorable when I’m being a smart ass, I thought.

“Ok, so what do you have to tell me?” I asked. The future me took my hands, there on the busy sidewalk, and revealed years of warnings, the date and nature of my death, and the full impact of climate change.

“Fuck… really? I don’t even want to get up tomorrow. You have no good news?” I screamed at my future self.

“Oh, yes, I forgot,” she said, faux slapping her forehead. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg lives to be 109.”

Natalie Brandt

Natalie is a lawyer and mom trapped in Texas. Wildly outspoken about the separation of church and state, she can quickly kill a dinner party but always brings good wine.

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