[From the journals of Dr. Jessup Crawley. June 9, 2039]
I watch my son weave through the lilac boughs behind our home. He reaches for a sprig of flowers, cradling it gently, before crushing it inside his small hand. The lines of his palm drip with purple, staining them like ink. He brings his hand close to his face, reading a story that is only his to know. “What do you see?” I call out. He smiles coyly and bunches up his fist, locking away a secret.
I recall sitting down at a psychic’s table one Mardi Gras in my youth, drunk on gin and innocence, and placing my hand in hers. A single painted fingernail traced the microscopic canyons of my palm as she revealed the secrets of my life with practiced vagueness. Impressive head line; stout heart line; long life line. The usual busking tripe. It was the last line, however, where she paused. “Your fate line,” she crooned. “It is scarred.” She was right. A shiny swath of callous broke the continuity of this one delicate line, like a snapped thread. She said nothing more about it, merely pocketed my money with a smile that was really a sneer. At the time I took it to be all part of her sticky web for pleasing tourists. These days, though, I wonder. I still have no memory of receiving that scar.
The boy races to his favorite spot at the edge of his known world, a small duck pond where a stockpiled cache of pebbles waits to be thrown. He takes unending pleasure in creating ripples across its glassy surface, watching them widen and spread. Like him, I once believed I was capable of making such waves. Titanic, important waves. The kind that could reshape the earth. I wanted so badly to dive into the ocean of science and alter its shores forever. It jarred me to realize that my ocean was only ever the size of this pond, tiny and painfully knowable. Perhaps it’s a lesson every scientist eventually learns and accepts. But for me…
We begin good. Each one of us. Of this I am certain. It’s the variables that unbalance our once elegant equations, twisting them into undefined, limitless complexity. My equation became insolvable long ago. My son, though. My lost boy. My found boy. I have to believe there is still time for you. Time to balance what has already begun to topple.
The palm is open. You are the scar.
Remy. My Remy. My world.
What have I done?