Lu looked in the mirror and blinked. Her future self sometimes would appear and tell her things. It started when she was five years old. “Mom, I just saw myself. My future self. She told me what will happen!” “That’s great Lu, what did she say?” “She said I was going to be a princess!” “Wow, a princess, you are one lucky girl. Now go to sleep sweetie, princesses need their rest.” “Ok mom. I love you.” Lu grabbed her favorite blankie and ran off to her room. Her mother took a quick sip of wine, “Love you too baby” she replied softly as she sank down into the couch, “love you too” her mom whispered again as she fell off to sleep.

Obeying her mother’s instructions Lulu went straight to her room and got in bed. However once she turned off the lights and pulled the covers over head she found she could not sleep. At night the pinkness of her room deepened to a dark shade of purple. Her thoughts, like those of many young girls her age, turned quickly. “I will be a princess someday. I will have beautiful dresses and a horse and a handsome prince to call my own.” Of course she could not sleep. The five year old mind burns bright and hard like a neon sign. It buzzes and fizzles and sparks. Dreams of the future come fast and unbidden. Suddenly she found herself at the bathroom mirror again.

“Future me, what will I be?” she asked. It was dark in the bathroom. Her mom and brothers slept peacefully in other parts of the house. Her father was away. He had left again for a job in some strange far far away land. “I have to go baby. Go to Af-fan-a-stan.” To her that is how it sounded. All she knew was that her father was gone. She stared intensely at the mirror on the wall willing her future self to appear. “Please future me, tell me I will be a princess again.” A haze appeared in the mirror, like a fog, Lu felt a little nauseous but it quickly passed and an apparition slowly materialized. A ghost in the glass. “Hi you, or should I say me.” Lu smiled and giggled. Again her future self had come. The woman who appeared in the bathroom mirror was clearly older than herself but it was obvious it was she. This time Lulu examined her future self closely. There was no doubt in her mind who it was. The resemblance to herself was striking but also she saw her mom there. She saw her father too. But there was a third person. It was only many years later that she understood who that other person was and what it meant. For now she only felt amazement and excitement. “Tell me again about how I will be a princess!”

“Listen closely — someday to be me. You will be a princess. You will meet a handsome prince. You will have many horses and live in a beautiful home. You will have a pool and two brothers who love and protect you. You will have a loving mother and father just as you do now.” Lu smiled like only a young girl can. The brightness of it lit up the dark bathroom more than any nightlight ever could. “What else future me? I see myself you and my mom and dad but who is the other one?” Lu’s hands clutched the sink in front of the bathroom mirror. She was trembling with excitement. “The other person you saw is me. It is you but also not you. It is the you that could have been or could still be. It is you from a different father, from a different mother, from a different time.” Lu did not understand, but still she smiled and laughed. “You are funny future me.” is what she said.

Her future self smiled a laughed too. Somewhere though the her that might have been cried. That future self would never be. It blinked out of existence at that moment. One path closed forever.

Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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