Thursday, September 11, 2014


We walked along the trail, when we came upon the pool of water that reflected the future. The pool had been discovered twenty-four years ago by Paolo Cruz. He had looked a while and seen himself, grey-haired and alone, surrounded with bottles of mescal. He knew it was a true vision, he said, because one of the worms wore a rosary.
Straight away he gave up drinking and got married. He had seven anxious years hoping he’d escape his fate, to die alone and pickled. Then his wife Maria and her aunt and uncle died together when a small meteorite crashed through the windshield of Maria’s uncle’s car, sending it off a narrow cliffside road. They had been on their way to visit the distillery that Uncle Silvio had just bought, which passed to his only next of kin, Paolo. Paolo became quite wealthy but never remarried.
There were other, less famous stories, following a similar pattern. People came to learn their fate. Even when it seemed pleasant they tried to change it. Human nature, I suppose.
So we had come on a lark, foolish the way only young lovers can be, to see whether we’d be happy and still together in five or ten or twenty years. Standing at the edge, careful not to look yet, we were suddenly shy with each other. It felt a bit like a marriage proposal.
I said, “You go first.”
“No,” she said. “Together.”
So we looked while I wondered whether we saw the same future. We didn’t, of course. No two people ever do. Which doesn’t stop them from trying.
It’s been eleven years. The ending she saw came nine years ago. The reconciliation I saw hasn’t yet, but I’m hopeful. There are hundreds of us in town, drifting through the days all hollow-eyed, every moment centered on what we know will happen any moment now.
Two years ago a priest from the city came with a bulldozer and filled in the pond. He brought four men with guns but no one tried to stop him. Truly we were glad to see it go, yet yesterday my little sister said she saw our grandmother in the bathtub water where she should have seen herself.