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'Looking forward ...'

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

To look forward, all you have to do is cast your mind ahead a few years. Use your inner crystal ball and with enough imagination, you might see your future. That sounds easy enough, right?

Not in my experience.

I haven’t lived that many years (coming up to 29 within a day or two to be precise), but not much that I predicted would happen at this moment in my life has come true.

Well, the essence of what I predicted is there – I am pursuing creative endeavours, travelling, living away from home, and continuing to grow a community of friends and mentors who guide me through life.

But the specifics – the job I thought I would have, or the field I imagined I would be working in, or the fact that I never pictured finding a lifetime partner – I was right about none of those details.

So, maybe it’s better not to get the specifics right. Maybe there is comfort in not knowing anything about the future, which means that I am not attached to my forecasting.

Anything can change at any time; there's no use speculating.

Clara Andrade

The words ‘Next stop Lidcombe’ scrolled across the indicator board on the Blue Mountains train racing through Sydney's western suburbs.

Tyson fidgeted in his seat as he looked out the window. On the bends, he found that if he pushed his face against the glass, he could catch a glimpse of the front of the train.

His grandmother, Evelyn, who was seated opposite reading a book, paused to remove her glasses and look out the window to watch the city disappear from view.

'Nan, why do you always sit with your back to the front of the train?'

Evelyn put her glasses back on so she could focus on her sandy-haired nine-year-old grandson.

'What’s wrong with that?'

'Because travelling backwards makes me feel sick, and I also like to see what’s coming up.'

Evelyn turned her head again to look out the window.

'Well, I know what lies ahead, and frankly, I prefer to make the most of my life before it disappears.'

'Nan, what are saying?'

'Never mind. All I’m saying is that you have a lot more to look forward to than I do.'

Evelyn went back to her book while Tyson continued looking forward out the window. As they rounded a sharp curve, Tyson could see another train on the adjacent track, travelling in the same direction, but at a slightly slower speed. Gradually, both trains drew close to each other, and when they were parallel, Tyson was able to look through the window of the opposite train.

At first, he thought the carriage was empty, then out of nowhere, a young girl with blonde curls jumped up on the seat and looked back at him. Tyson placed his hand on the glass and splayed his fingers. The girl did the same, smiled, and then blew him a kiss at the instant when both trains diverged. As the train on the opposite track peeled away to the north, the girl disappeared.

Startled, Tyson looked at his grandmother.

'You didn’t see that coming, did you, my boy?'

Robert Carrick

Copyright: text - authors cited above; photos - Wix.

Posts on this SSOA blog are published to showcase the work of emerging writers who meet weekly to workshop their short stories, memoir or novels. The posts comprise just some of the responses written in just 10 minutes as a warm up to the meetings.

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