Flash Fiction

Inspired by a writing prompt on PoetsIN

 

There’s always tomorrow. That’s a little joke we temporal physicists like to tell, because in truth, who knows?

We stretch time by approaching the speed of light, bend time as we follow the intense gravitational fields embedded in space-time, and even – well, from the viewer’s perspective – make time virtually stand still as we cross the event horizon of a black hole, while from our perspective we get stretched and yanked and pulled forward to our doom in the naked singularity at its center. That’s all assuming the singularity isn’t really a singularity but, instead, it’s a wormhole to another point in space — or time. But I digress.

Tomorrow. It’s an intriguing concept. Because you do know, of course, that by the time tomorrow gets here, it is by definition the present and no longer tomorrow. It’s a time in the future that will always remain in the future and never be known. Saying “I wish tomorrow wouldn’t get here, because …” Well, don’t worry, it doesn’t. Never does. Unless …

There’s a theory that you can jump outside the space-time continuum you inhabit, hitch a ride on another one to a point in the first continuum’s “future,” and peek through a hole as an “observer.” By not sharing the continuum, the events you see are ones that are not pre-determined to become the present when you return to your own place and time. But maybe, like Schroedinger’s cat, the very nature of observing what this future will be like determines its outcome in your reality. Then, you’re left right back where you started, at the continuing present without a single tomorrow ever coming to pass. A given event you are expecting, such as a test, or a marriage, may materialize in your present, but, again, its outcome cannot be predetermined, only the event itself. It’s enough to make your head spin faster than the black hole’s singularity (if it’s a rotating one, that is).

So when you invite tomorrow over for dinner, don’t be surprised when it never shows up. Instead you’re left with the ever-present present, and unless the laws of physics suddenly change, you always will be. But, hey, you’ll have lots of leftovers.

(c) 2017 Miriam Ruff All Rights Reserved