Friday, December 18, 2009

Forcing Foreshadowing


I don't know how to do foreshadowing. I'm trapped in a stream of consciousness, and I can't get out of the current. I flow with whatever's carrying me downward, never emerging out on shore to run back and put a sign up that says what's coming. But it usually works out either way. Because I know what's coming even when I haven't seen it, all it takes is a feeling.

Jaclyn and I sat down in our motor vehicle, and set off down our street. We were going to buy supplies for a cookie party (sprinkles, milk, etc.). Our plan was to take a quick right to California Avenue, all the way to Logan. But just as we turned onto California, Jaclyn realized that she forgot the grocery list. So we had to go back to the place we started and go inside to grab the list off of the coffee table. When I came back with the list, Jaclyn was ready and waiting. But this time, she didn't take a right. She took a left. We didn't go to California Avenue, but Western.

As we approached Western, I got that bad feeling. And then I even expressed my feelings out loud. I told Jaclyn, "this makes me nervous."

"What makes you nervous?"

"We changed our course. Whenever this happens, I get this bad feeling."

"Why? What do you mean?"

"Well, we were going to head down California, but now we're heading towards Western. We were supposed to be a part of the traffic on California... I mean, what if someone has an accident now since we're not a part of what was supposed to be? Or what if we are now driving towards an accident ourselves? Since we're on a road we shouldn't have been on, we're overcrowding the street."

"Isn't that all life is though? Just a bunch of failed and altered plans?"

I thought about that for a second, and when my nervous feeling didn't shake I answered her, "Yeah, that's true, but it's also the reason we have accidents."

We were just about at Western now. The flurries were coming down gradually and the Chicago night air was frosty and wet. I looked ahead at a girl with a large fluffy hood walking in the crosswalk., and a car turning onto our street. The headlights jolted back and forth quickly, and the girl's body became horizontal with the pavement. "That person just got hit by a car!" Jaclyn said.

She pulled over, along with a few other cars that witnessed the horrifying event. Jaclyn jumped out to see if the girl was alright. The woman who hit her took quick responsibility and was the first person on the phone with 911. I sat in the car, watching the scene and thinking about the conversation Jaclyn and I just had a few seconds earlier. Was it a coincidence? Or was my fear of an imminent accident justified? Was my feeling a premonition? If we had gone down California in the first place, would that accident have happened? Either way, we wouldn't have witnessed this accident had the grocery list not been forgotten. I'm just not sure if that was the chain reaction that triggered this particular accident or not though. But I felt the tingliest chill down my spine anyway, I don't care how superstitious it sounds, this experience freaked me out.

The girl was lying on the wet, slushy street, and Jaclyn was crouched down next to her. She was comforting her, keeping one hand on the girl's arm as they waited for the paramedics in the ugliest weather of the year. And if we had gone down California, Jaclyn wouldn't have been able to do that. I don't know if this was all some sort of internal foreshadowing, but I can't help but wonder if (and when) someone else's failed and altered plan will end up triggering my own demise.

Until then, let's try to follow through on things, shall we? But don't fight the foreshadowing. All the butterflies flap to it with fervor and fury.