prompt: tremor, title: principled uncertainty in misc. flash fiction

  • March 12, 2021, 4:33 a.m.
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  • Public

To you, it might seem like a superpower to see what we can see but I swear that it’s the opposite. You’re the ones with the powers to not see it, to not have to deal with it, to not bear witness to all the doubts that come with it. Causality’s shifting sands, probability’s arbitrary whims, you get to screen it out. All potential reality collapsing into a single waveform for you, believing this this is all there is from birth. One thing, one reality, one normal. It must be so reassuring for you all.

Not for us. We were born without your innate super-ability, Schrodinger’s Effect Compensation, the talent to just see what is, not all the could-have-beens and might-be-stills swirling around us always like living inside the eye of a hurricane of maybes. You don’t even see the wreckage that spins all around us. Flashes of the triumphs, heartbreaks, boredom, to you, as invisible as the air but just like the air, nonetheless entirely there. Or else, how could the any of us even breathe?

It turns off when you dream. That’s why dreams are like that. That’s what it feels like for us, for me, all the goddamned time. What did you think that deja-vu was, predicting a future? It’s when you overlap with another you that’s going through the exact same motions and it shuts down for a little while. That’s what being alive is for us, all the time, echoes of the road untaken, burnt in like the phosphene afterglow when you close your eyes tight after seeing far too bright lights.

That’s what dogs are barking at, you know, when you can’t figure out what they could’ve heard. That’s what your housecats lunge for when they seem to merely be wrestling with the shadows, all the more ironic they named what screens it out after Schrodinger and his imaginary undead tabby, huh? We’re seeing the little earthquakes that split what-is from what-might-have been.

We observe tremors in the fabric of the now because this existence is just so much crazier and complicated and tragic and miraculous and random and stupid and holy than most minds could even take. That’s not self-aggrandizing either, that’s why so many of us seem broken or lost or fully insane. You get to see the movie projected one frame at a time, twenty-four per second, linear, comforting. It’s something else to have all the reels dumped over your head willy-nilly.

Yes, when one of us creates great art or has an epiphany in science or history, it sounds great. When one of us plucks the lottery numbers out of the ether, it all seems like a gas. But it’s no superpower, I assure you. Watching time unravel in every direction, back front and sideways, feels a lot more like a curse. A disability with accidental fringe benefits, at best. Cherish your superpower, I’d say. It’s a scary ride to see how arbitrary the magic of this reality actually is.

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