Author: Judith Pratt
The statues were falling apart. I knew they would.
Poseidon’s trident cracked. Hercules lost an arm, and the Discus Thrower lost his discus. Aphrodite still tried to hold something in her hand, but her robe had disintegrated.
The bosses of Gods & Heroes, where I work, fired two of the designers and their resin supply company. To my surprise, they didn’t fire me, even though my own boss, Diane, is always saying “Sandy, you’re being negative.” She says that because II see problems coming and have to tell people about them.
Maybe I’m still here because many problems take years to explode, so everyone can be surprised when the database crashes or a customer sues us because their statue fell apart. No one ever remembers that I knew that would happen.
I try not to see these things, but they haunt me until the words are out of my mouth even if I’ve pinched it closed and gritted my teeth.
When I told my second husband that the cellar would flood during the next thunderstorm, he got angry. “Don’t I have enough to do without you thinking up catastrophes?”
It did flood, and, he wouldn’t talk to me for a week. This is the third relationship I’ve ruined.
When this husband left, I went to a shrink.
“I can’t keep my mouth shut when I see a problem,” I said.
She wanted to know about my family, if they didn’t listen to me.
My parents always listened to me, I said. Then they would respond by discussing all the other things that might happen, or that I might want, instead of what I did want, or what I said was going to happen. They seemed to listen, but they gave such endless consideration to what I said that I was never sure if I’d even said it.
That can’t be why it’s impossible for me not to speak about what I see coming, I told the shrink. That can’t be why I can always see what’s going to happen. “No one can see the future,” she told me. I didn’t argue, but I didn’t go back. And I didn’t tell her that her car would break down today.
What god did I offend? God of accomplishment, god of self-esteem, god of chaos? I’ve read every version of the Cassandra myth. Nothing applies to me. No snakes spoke in my ear. I didn’t promise Apollo that I’d come to his bed. I’m certainly not a virgin.
This year, this year is different. Everyone sees some terrible danger approaching, but no one can agree on what it is. Climate change or socialism? An epidemic or a plot to ruin the economy? The end of our country, or its rebirth? Some folks think that enough discussion will lead to a consensus. But this isn’t discussion, it’s shrieking across a great chasm.
What do I see coming now?
I don’t know. The shrieking has finally shut down my visions.