There had to be an answer in the stars, David thought. After all, someone had to know. It was, after all, like the future was some kind of tangible thing. There was no thing called free will—it was to be determined by a force that was greater then the sum of one puny life.
So he went to the library in search of enlightenment. The books on divinity were set in the back rows, under a flourescent light that flickered in a visual death song, casting random shadows that brought the dogma of each philosophy into a stark light. Only one appealed to him—it was the messages from the stars.
So he checked out the books on astrology and brought them home where he could read them with a steady light. There were books that described the history of the zodiac, and explained how it was so important when one planet aligned with another. There were books on how religions were based on the movements of constellations through the skies, and how the sky was considered a divine message of instruction.
According to the charts he studied, he was born into the house of Libra. Its symbol was the scales, which seemed right for David, because he was constantly trying to achieve balance. He felt that he was on a quest for justice, and the descriptions of Libras just seemed to feel right: Jimmy Carter, Mahatma Gandhi and Kim Kardashian.
David started reading his horoscope in the paper daily. At first he would read it in the morning and use it as a guide for the day ahead. It seemed to work but also seemed to be a little vague. He made plans to get a Libra tattoo on his chest.
He still felt a little unsure, so one day deliberately didn't read his horoscope until the evening to see if the advice it offered would have been useful in the context of hindsight. He was shocked—it seemed so much clearer when he compared the events of the day to his horoscope's description. David felt that he had finally found truth. He went back to the library and checked out more books. Using their guides and his birth certificate, he calculated his astrological pedigree to the ninth house.
This gave David confidence. He began to behave more boldly in his life, more willing to take charge. He had, after all, the stars to back him up. It gave him a warm feeling to know that he had discovered truth. It seemed that he had achieved some kind of balance.
It was a Thursday when this all changed. The morning started bright and clear, and he felt energized as he boarded his train to work. Tucked underneath his arm was the daily newspaper. He settled back in the cushions and read his horoscope for the day. “Great changes are coming.” it said. “A new direction will be offered to you.”
David was exited about this. Things were going well for him at work and he suspected that his boss would be offering a promotion. Or maybe the receptionist next door would finally agree to go to lunch with him. He leaped onto the platform when his train arrived and charged into his workday.
But the ordinariness of it began to dull his senses. His boss was out and wouldn't return for the next week, and the receptionist was still cold to his invitation. Even the cafeteria still served the rancid bean with bacon soup offered each Thursday. Discouraged by the falsehood in the paper, he made his way home and prepared a simple dinner. The phone didn't ring, his neighbors ignored him and he felt lonely and empty, so he turned in early to shorten his disappointing day.
When he turned out the light he noticed that there was a kind of white glow in his bedroom. Sitting up, he stared across the darkness and saw a man standing there, an old man. He had a beard and curly hair that looked somewhat familiar. David blinked and stared hard, thinking it was some kind of hallucination, but the figure remained. The figure waved. The figure smiled.
“David,” it said in a strangely nasal tone, “I've come here to tell you something important.”
“Yeah, right.” David said. “How did you get in here?”
“I've actually been here all the time. You just never noticed.”
“So? What do you want?”
“Do you know who I am?” The bearded figure asked “I'm you, thirty three years into the future.”
“Um, no. Not buying it.” David said.
“They had bean with bacon soup in the cafeteria today. It was rancid, as usual. Nancy, the receptionist told you she couldn't go to lunch with you today because she had a temporary filling.”
“How'd you know that?”
“Your horoscope foretold of big things today, but nothing happened. Well, nothing--except now. By the way, they're going to have lobster bisque at the cafeteria tomorrow. Don't get it—it's going to send 17 people to the hospital.”
“I'll keep that in mind. So, if you're from the future, you must be here to help me out. You gonna give me some stock tips?”
“Ah, much better then that. What I will tell you is going to come as quite a shock. But it's vitally important that you heed my words.”
“Okay what is it?”
“You're not a Libra. You're really a Virgo.”
“You're really a Virgo.”
David paused as he let this virgin knowledge wash over him. “I'm a Virgo? How that can be?”
“You see, in the future they discover that since the Earth has wobbled in its rotation it caused the astrology houses to shift. People assumed the sun was in the House of Libra on your birthday, but it wasn't. It hadn't been since 1143, when it shifted to Virgo. Scientists discover this fact in 2011, thirty three years from today. That's why I came here to tell you, so you know.”
“So that's why nothing happened today.”
“Maybe. You'd have to read your true horoscope to know.”
David blinked and the figure disappeared. Getting out of bed, he walked into the kitchen and retrieved the newspaper from the trash can. Turning to the horoscope section, he read Virgo's prediction for that day. It said something about discovering the folly of truth.
He spent his train ride staring out the window instead of reading the newspaper. He walked slowly to work from the station and simply went through the motions of the morning without thought. He didn't pay attention to the time and when he looked at the clock he realized he needed to get to the cafeteria before it closed.
When he got off the elevator he encountered a strong smell of vomit. A man said “Sorry, sir, the cafeteria's closed.” He turned to go outside and slipped on a puddle of vomit. He laid on the floor for a moment with his eyes closed.
“Are you alright?” A woman's voice asked him. David opened his eyes and saw a young woman with brown hair and eyes looking at him. “Are you okay?” She asked again and smiled.
“Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks.” He stood up, conscious of someone else's vomit on his sleeve. “My name's David. What's yours?”
“Stacie. I'm a Virgo. What's your sign?”
“That's what you think," he thought. David and Stacie went out to lunch together. The rest of the day flew by and soon he found himself in bed. When he turned out the light the glow was there. The Future David was back, with a beard and hair a little longer.
“You're back. You were right about the soup.”
“I know. “
“So what happens next?”
“I can't tell you all of the future. You have to find that for yourself.”
“So why are you back?”
“Well, it seems that there was a mistake in the calculations. Scientists in 2017 discovered that there is a massive black hole just outside of our solar system that's causing light to bend. It turns out that the original astrological signs were correct.”
“So I'm not a Virgo? I'm still a Libra?”
“Yes, I'm afraid so.”
“Can't you tell me anything else?”
“Well, maybe one more thing.”
“What?” David asked, desperation in his voice.
“The Cubs are going to lose.” David blinked and Future David was gone.
He got out of bed and went outside to watch the stars. He stayed up all night watching the constellations shift in and out of each house. He marveled at the Belt of Orion and he smiled at the twins of Gemini.
But nights fade, and then there was only one star in the sky. It was big, bright and cast warmth. David watched it rise in the morning and decided that from now on the Sun was going to be the only star he'd follow.