It is believed the worst kind of suffering to be uncertainty. Humans prefer a bitter truth to having to face the fear of not knowing. The emotional roller coaster, so to speak. People want to know, even if it means breaking their own hearts, over and over again, with the inevitability of their fate. They want to know.
This is why people called Taissa and asked for an appointment. She’d tell them she was busy until the end of the year. They’d beg and promise and… she’d finally agree to half an hour just before dawn or a lunch break in a shopping mall. They knew she knew. They wanted to know what she knew.
Taissa could predict the future.
What she saw, actually, was inside their hearts. She could catch a glimpse of all they feared and loved and avoided. She knew what they were running from, what they were running towards, what they dreamed at night.
She knew all their nightmares and the dumb things they did to forget them.
She knew all these things and could tell them what they were going to do.
Our destiny is not written in the stars. Oh, no. It is not some force of nature that governs over our actions. Our fate is in ourselves. God’s last gift to us. We had to abandon Paradise to receive it… and forge ourselves a different Paradise elsewhere. This is what makes us godlike in nature. This is also what makes us human. Fragile to the point that not even God Himself would be able to put us together if we broke into pieces.
For there’s nothing in the Universe capable of mending a broken heart, of healing the wounds inflicted upon a soul.
The price of being godlike…
Taissa once had a customer – a young girl. Nineteen years old. She wasn’t impressed by the way Taissa had arranged her place; there were no crystal balls to begin with. Nothing esoteric, nothing magic. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was more like a shrink’s office than anything else.
Truth be told, Taissa had no stomach for parlor tricks. She knew the truth, could see it in people’s eyes, and she told them that. Whether they believed her or not, it didn’t matter.
She told this young girl to place her hands on the table, palms up. All she needed was a touch. Just one touch.
Taissa placed her palms against the girl’s.
The world outside her windows faded to a muffle.
She stared into the girl’s eyes. The past revealed itself inside them.
“So? What’d you see?” the girl inquired.
Taissa shook her head. “Louise, I think… it’s best you not know.”
The girl laughed a bitter laugh. “I didn’t wait six months for this appointment -”
“For sale,” Taissa said. “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”
The girl gave her a pitying look. “Now you’re making stuff up.” She gave the office a quick glance. “This is bullshit.”
And she walked out, never to return again. The woman was obviously a fraud. Or crazy. Or both. Louise didn’t even have a boyfriend. She never had one. She also didn’t want children. She didn’t like them, so to speak.
In time she forgot all about Taissa’s prediction, and later, much later, some soccer player walked into the coffee shop she worked at and stared at her and smiled in just the right way.
All her friends told her he was ugly. He was also probably stupid, given his choice of career, but Louise didn’t listen. She knew she wanted him, she knew she had to have him.
This is not a love story. I am afraid this isn’t even one of those erotic ones. Mildly-pornographic. Yes, they did what all lovers do.
Paparazzi would follow them around, some newspaper interviewed them about their relationship. She took him to meet her mother and stepfather.
It wasn’t Paradise, but it was the closest thing to it Louise had ever had.
And, as you suspect, one day he asked her if she wanted to have a child with him. Something like that. They were living in a big enough house – pool and all that included. He was earning more than enough and had three more years on his contract. They could do it, he said. It would be exactly what they needed in order to be even more content with their lives.
She agreed, of course. No reason not to.
It took them a couple months for her to become pregnant. He was at practice when she found out. She was drunk on this burning joy… she couldn’t contain herself. She walked out of the house and drove to the shopping mall. She walked around and bought all kinds of stuff, just to keep herself busy.
She didn’t mean to, but walked into a kids’ store. It felt nice, to walk around and see those miniature clothes fit for a mini-version of her and the man she loved. It was going to be a wonderful life. It was going to be quite extraordinary. She picked up a pair of shoes and purchased them. It was too early, but she did it anyway. An impulse buy. She had to. She thought it funny.
When she got home he was playing on his XBox. He didn’t even look away from his game. “What’s up?” he asked her.
“Not much,” she said and lay on the couch next to him. “I have some good news, baby,” she said. “Real good news,”
“I am pregnant,” she said.
Still not looking at her. Still playing his stupid game.
Louise stood up, glanced down at him, and then walked up the stairs to the bedroom. She sat at the edge of the bed for a long time. Crying her heart out. She would have carved it out of her chest and bury it in the garden if she could.
“Louise? Baby? Where are you?” he shouted from downstairs. She didn’t answer. “Baby.” he shouted. “Baby, where are you?”
“In the bedroom,” she finally shouted back.
He walked in and sat next to her. He took her cheers in his hands. “Baby.” He kissed her on the lips. “Are you upset?”
She laughed bitterly at him. “Did you hear what I told you?”
“Of course,” he said matter-of-factly. “And… I think we shouldn’t keep the baby.”
She didn’t answer.
“The team might have to sell me in the summer,” he said. “Now it’s not a good time.”
Silence answered back.
“I think it’s best…”
She slapped him so hard that her hand hurt for the next three days.
All was left of her was a lot of pain and a lot of hatred. The kind that would burn this world to the ground if only you held a match in front of it.
Pain and hatred and anger and bitterness and a hell of a lot of tears.
And a pair of baby shoes, nothing to do with them.