A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words is a regular feature. Sometimes they'll be related to something else and other times random.
As the crowd gathered around the maple tree, Amy exhaled a nervous breath. This is the first time she’d shared her secret place with anyone, and while it was a group of people who loved and cared about her, the butterflies still flitted in her gut.
What if they all think I’m crazy? Oh, wait. They already know that. Some of the guests were friends from her childhood–those special people who had been there from the very beginning. From the first time she’d had a vision. They hadn’t mocked her and they’d encouraged her to tell someone–an adult. That might not have gone as intended, but it was an important step Amy had to take.
While her memories of the past and her premonitions of the future weren’t earth-shattering, Amy did take them seriously. She’d done research about some of her memories and found them to be accurate. She’d also documented her premonitions and found them to be spot-on.
Which didn’t make what she was about to announce to her friends and family any easier.
The invitation she’d sent to a dozen of her closest friends and family members stated: The Past will Meet the Present and Blur the Future. She’d had many queries about the meaning of the heading but she hadn’t shared her reasoning.
While the late-June gathering could have been swelteringly hot, there was a delightful breeze making the ribbons on the maple tree dance. The leaves whispered in the wind, and it soothed her. Bolstered her confidence in the vision she was about to share.
“Hey, you guys. Let’s get this started. We have dinner reservations in an hour.”
A hush fell over the gathering.
“I know you’re all wondering why I’ve invited you here today.”
Heads bobbed and whispers of “weird invitation” reached her ears.
“You all know I have visions–sometimes, they’re events from the past and others are premonitions. I’ve had a premonition about my own life.”
Her cousin, Adam, spoke up. “Jesus. Spill it already. You’re starting to freak me the fuck out.”
“There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s nothing that’s going to happen in the next ten years. I just wanted to share my tree with you, and explain it a little. One day, I’ll explain it to my own daughter so she can pass it down to the next generation–hopefully, she’ll have the same gift I have.”
“So, you have a daughter? That’s amazing! Who is the father?” Jenna, a life-long confidante, asked.
“I haven’t met him yet. I probably will, soon. I had a montage-like vision about a bunch of things we will do together, and it seemed like I was around this age–my hair was the color and style it is now, and I dressed in familiar clothes–stuff I have in my current wardrobe.”
“That’s fucking cool,” a dreamy-eyed neighbor, Beatrice, commented.
“Well, I don’t know whether fucking cool is the right way to describe it, but it’s the reason we’re here today. This vision made me realize that I was the only one holding the key to my memories and visions. All along, I’ve been coming to this tree and tying a new ribbon for each. I have diaries that denote which ribbon represents which memory. Sort-of like an index.” She looked around and took in the slack-faced stares aimed at the tree branches. “Anyway, I’ve been doing this since I was little. Some of the ribbons have grown into the tree bark. I keep coming out here whenever I’ve had another vision. But, today, I wanted to share something with you guys. I’m putting a new ribbon on the tree to represent my own death.”
Gasps erupted. Some people put their hand over their mouth to hide their shock. Others looked as though they’d been stabbed in the heart.
“It doesn’t happen for a long time. My own daughter is grown and I have a grandson before my time on earth is over. But this is a momentous ribbon. I’ve also started blogging about my memories and I’ve got everything typed and posted until this point. I’m going to email all of you the address so you can read along if you want.”
Carl, her buddy from college, spoke up, tears in his eyes. “I don’t know that I want to read about your death. Even if it happens decades in the future and you’ve led a full life.”
She nodded. “I get that. But mostly, I wanted you to have the option. And, if something happens and I don’t have the opportunity to pass this information along to someone I’ve fallen in love with, or my child, I wanted the people I trust the most in this world to be able to do it for me. While I may have had a premonition about my own death, we all know something unpredictable can happen and remove that intended outcome.”
“That’s really smart,” her aunt Karen whispered. “We never know when Fate will change her mind about things.”
Amy smiled. “Exactly. Which is why I’ve brought you all here today.” She drew a one-inch ribbon from her pocket. It was around four feet in length and satiny. The brilliant red color would fade over time, but Amy had thought about that. Inked into one of the tails was today’s date. “I’ve put the date on this ribbon, and I’m going to do that from now on. As you can see, the colors on the ribbons have faded. I’ve tried to add dates to those I can reach without too much fuss, but some won’t have that reference.”
She reached around the back of the tree trunk–easily reaching the other side–and grasped one end of the ribbon. She tied a neat bow at the front and knotted it. She’d planned to tie this one above a small branch growing about three feet from the ground, which would keep it from slipping to the base of the tree. After double knotting the band, she stepped back, admiring her handiwork.
“The date on my obituary read May 1, 2045. Live every moment like it’s your last. Tell others you love them. I might have an inkling as to when my life will end and what type of life I’ve lead, but you don’t. Don’t take it for granted. I love you all.”
Amy wound through the gathered people as she made her way to her car accepting hugs and murmurs about her strength. She needed the fifteen minutes it would take to reach the restaurant to gather her thoughts about the weird-ass meeting. She was nervous about the next part of the evening. The one in which she would meet the man of her dreams.
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