VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Ethan Goffman

I Am an Oracle

In 2025 the United States as we know it will cease to exist.

In 2042 I will die, alone and impoverished, in a shoddy facility set up, quickly and haphazardly, to house the elderly and terminally ill.

Between those two events, my wife will die of a medical emergency.

In 2070, or thereabouts, humanity as we know it, the world as we know it, will end.

All of us, in some way, know these things, know of our own deaths, the deaths of those we love, and the inevitable destruction of humanity. Yet we continue to live, rise, eat, work, watch television, follow politics, read novels, play at sports, enjoy music, love and laugh, hate and suffer, as though it really matters. Because, after all, the day-to-day is the only thing that really matters.

Although the day-to-day doesn’t matter in the least. Not in the cosmic infinity of the universe. Not in the cosmic infinity of time.

Cosmic infinity does not matter, does not actually exist. All that exists is the here and now, which, however, do not exist as they are over the instant they can be contemplated. I do not exist. These words, ghostly flickers on a page, do not exist.

I am the only thing that exists, along with my words. I write some kind of record, some kind of meaning, because I have no choice, even though it will all vanish by, or long before, 2070, or thereabouts.

My only potential children were miscarried away in the early aughts. I thought they ought to live. These writings are the closest I have to a child, or children, but will be quickly disappeared.

I cannot stand the thought of the end of humanity, although it is of less concern to me than the death of my wife. I cannot stand the thought of my wife’s death, although it is less final to me than my own death, which I cannot comprehend or actually believe.

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