“Really? That’s really your name?”
“Yep. I’m Future. Go ahead, get the jokes out of the way.”
“Well, no, I mean, I’m not going to joke about that. But man, you’re so bright, I think I’m going to have to wear sunglasses.”
“Nevermind. Cheesy 80s reference. Bad joke. Anyway, how did that happen? How’d you end up with that name?”
I knew it was her stage name, but I asked anyhow. For all I know, she came up with it on a whim, a momentary lapse of judgment that usually leads to children being named Apple or Herbert.
“Well, I don’t know.”
Okay, not like I was really expecting a real explanation. Who am I kidding, anyway? Maybe tomorrow she’ll be Past or Present. Although some part of me feels that this means something, that she’s Future, the Future. Could it be a sign, something insignificant turned bellwether for another tomorrow? Some kind of magical, mystical harbinger that brings forth the hidden truths of our lives? Or maybe it’s all a ploy just to get me thinking. Maybe, yeah, that’s it.
Six minutes pass: On a dinner table, there’s little to distract one’s attention, but if need be, one finds a way. The fork has five prongs, but why not four? Isn’t four normal? Or normaler? And why is my knife a different color than hers? Did the restaurant mix and match my utensils? What the…
“When I was twelve, my mother told me that I was her future. That after years of losing hope, she had realized that I would be the one to justify her own existence. This was when I was twelve, and I don’t think I really got what she was saying. But I always remembered it. That I was her future, that I was her lifeline.”
“My father worked hard for our country, but the government let him down. Worn out after years of being in battle, he left us when I was six. I don’t really remember him, but I could tell my mother still loved him. Considering what he did, she never says anything bad about him. And ever since, it’s been the same story, of my mother and I working menial jobs to survive. But now, it’s my time.”
“That’s me. The Future. Future. The one and only, although I’m pretty sure there’s one in every family. Where there is hope, there is a Future. Complete with packaging and a sticker price. I’m not for sale, though, you know. You and I, we’re just on borrowed time from each other. It’s an equal trade.”
“I like you.”
“That’s it? You finally see the Future, and that’s all you can say?”
“Okay, that works.”
I guess the whole deal with the fork was really a non-issue. Function is key here, function is the driver of all we do. Four or five prongs, it doesn’t matter as long it can stick itself onto a piece of meat for devourment. And like a fork, her function is to be the future. I guess we’re all like that, but sometimes we need a reminder of who we are. The name, it’s perfect. It works on so many levels.