Looking for more in Your Stories?

From an Old Children’s Book

Author: Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig
Year: Future

One sunny Wednesday afternoon,
Future comes to tea,
wearing a rainbow as a robe,
and red stiletto heels –
looking quite stunning, really.

I haven’t been expecting this,
and say as much, but it insists:
‘We need to have a word.’
It seems upset, so I oblige,
offer a biscuit, which
is nibbled gratefully.

‘You worry about me,’
Future says. I hesitate.
‘Erm…you’re rather vast,
um… not predictable…,
and then the papers say…’

‘Oh, let them talk!’ It scoffs.
‘OK, I am unbounded – yes
uncharted, too, but also
fragile: think petals, soft,
think dinosaurs – and dawn.’

‘Aha,’ I say, a bit nonplussed,
‘I’m not sure I can follow?’
It looks at me and gives a
sigh, at which my cat
hops onto Future’s lap,
and purrs in sympathy.

‘Maybe it’s easy to forget
I haven’t happened, yet, and
like you I can change.’
That is all well and good,
I think, but how…
‘How do you navigate me?’
Now Future smiles.

‘The past may be a shaky
compass, but it will point
the way. Just treat me
as a travelling companion:
your child, your friend,
your best beloved.

Pack some provisions for
the journey, too: a good
amount of kindness, a
flask of cheer and hope,
fresh wit – and cake, of
course, I do love cake.’

‘And if I do all this?’ I ask.
‘Then,’ Future says,
‘I will be looking after
you, as if I were indeed
your child, your friend,
your best beloved.’

And with these words,
Future takes my hand.