You discover that your Facebook timeline can scroll into the future.

I decided to do a writing prompt from reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/49jmpc/wp_you_discover_that_your_facebook_timeline_can/

The writing prompt, as per the title, was “You discover that your Facebook timeline can scroll into the future.”

I busted out the following in about 1.5 hours. Maybe someone enjoys reading it?

 

It was like any other day. I finished work about 2 hours later than I should have at the Italian restaurant I worked at because, as usual, they understaffed us. As I was driving home I couldn’t help but reflect on one customer in particular who almost looked homeless, but when he spoke to me, he spoke with conviction with his eyes. He didn’t say anything particularly odd, but every time he spoke, it looked like he was looking into my soul through my eyes. It seemed like he was trying to tell me something behind every word he spoke. Some hidden wisdom that got lost on his tattered looks.

I cut my thoughts short as I reached my apartment building and got out of my beat up car. I looked at my car, which I was surprised even ran still. Rusted, chipped paint. A true beater, but it still ran, and that’s what was important. I needed it to get myself to work and university. I didn’t look much better than my car though. A scraggly beard adorned my face. I still had some acne which I feared would haunt me for the rest of my life, and my gut could have been a little thinner. Studying mechanical engineering and working full time at a restaurant had ensured I had little time for working out, but plenty of time to eat food at work, and it was starting to show.

I went into my apartment, thought about eating, but quickly discarded the idea; I had been snacking my entire shift at work. I grabbed a beer out of the fridge and turned on the TV for some background sound. It didn’t matter what was on since I grabbed my laptop, laid on the couch, quickly checked my emails, and then got on Facebook to see what my friends were up to. I started scrolling through the news feed: pictures of friends, selfies, pictures of cooked meals, countless shared pictures and videos which consumed the next hour or two of my life. It was already late and I was exhausted, so I figured that was about enough Facebook for the night before retiring to bed.

I decided to scroll all the way up my feed, just to see if there were any “new stories.” I saw a couple new shared videos, but more importantly, I saw a very vague status update from my best friend, Rebecca: What’s the point in trying if the ones closest to you won’t appreciate you? </3.

She had a knack for “vaguebooking,” the art of writing vague status updates in hopes that one would bite and ask, just for her to say it’s not a big deal. Her relationship with her boyfriends had been rocky as of late, so I was a little concerned that something had happened. I gave her a quick call, despite the late hour, just to make sure she was OK. She answered, sounding mildly annoyed, and I asked her what was up. She snapped that it was a little late to be calling, but luckily she was still awake, watching a movie with her boyfriend at his house.

“Is everything all right” I sheepishly asked.

“Yes, why wouldn’t it be?” she pressed.

“It’s just that… your Facebook status seemed a little down…”

“What Facebook status? My phone has been dead all day, I forgot my charger at home…”

I didn’t know what was up. Maybe I was too tired, maybe the beer was a bit stronger than I thought. “Oh OK, well have a good night. Say hi to Tom for me. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”

“OK, see you later.”

She hung up, and I was left there, still confused. I looked at her status on my computer, and my eyes were not deceiving me. I chalked it up to someone making a joke status and decided to go to bed.

I woke up, got ready, and went to class. I had a few classes before the one I shared with Rebecca, but when that class came, she wasn’t there. I texted her as class was about to start, and it was then that she told me that her boyfriend broke up with her that morning, so she went home instead of going to class that day.

After I got home, I got on Facebook, and saw again that her status was there, with comments asking her what was wrong, with her typical responses of “don’t worry about it” or “it’s nothing.” I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I called her again and talked to her, calming her down. I convinced her to go out drinking with me tonight. It was Friday after all, and I luckily didn’t have to work that night. She agreed to meet up later that evening.

I got home, took a shower, and got dressed for the evening out. It wasn’t often that I got a Friday off, so I always wanted to go out when I could. I still had a few hours to burn before meeting up with Rebecca, so I got on my computer and mindlessly browsed Facebook again. I was scrolling through the pictures and posts until I caught up with the posts from the previous night that I had already seen. Hungry for more, I scrolled up again, hoping for more new stories. A few friends had shared a couple more photos, and then I saw some photos that Rebecca had uploaded of her and me. At a first glance, I thought she must be looking through old photos of us going out and uploading them, maybe to celebrate tonight.

Something was off though. I didn’t quite recall going to the bar pictured in the photos she was uploading with her. I had been there with coworkers before, and I was actually thinking of taking Rebecca there that night, but I distinctly couldn’t recall ever going there with her, and I wasn’t one to get blackout drunk. Other details also emerged; I was wearing the same shirt in the pictures as the one I currently was wearing. It looked like the same pants too, and pretty much looked like exactly how I was planning to go out tonight. I commented on one of the photos.

Lol, when did this happen? I don’t recall going with you to this bar.

I needed a drink. I got a beer. Rebecca was always on her phone, and she had already commented a reply to my question.

Haha, it was just last night! How could you forget?! You weren’t even that drunk!

Last night I was working and had called her about her odd status. It didn’t make sense. I put my laptop down, avoiding the implications of what Facebook was showing me. Time passed as I watched the TV, my mind racing on what was going on. It was late enough so I drove over to Rebecca’s and picked her up. I got to her place, and she was still getting ready. She let me in as she was finishing, and I couldn’t help but interrogate her.

“We didn’t go out last night. When did you take those pictures?”

“What pictures?” She looked mildly confused as she poked her head around the corner, still applying some makeup.

“The pictures of us at The Old Tavern that you uploaded to Facebook earlier. I was thinking of taking you there tonight, but it looks like we were there already…”

“The Old what? I don’t think I have ever been there, and since Tom and I broke up, I haven’t uploaded any photos, goofball. I guess we’ll need to take some photos tonight then!” she laughed as she went back into the other room.

I stood in the living room, dumbfounded. This was all too weird. Before I could mull over what was happening, she came into the room where I was waiting. She looked beautiful, but we had never been romantically interested in each other. After being astonished at her looks, I also happened to notice that she looked dangerously similar to the photos I had seen earlier. We went out to my car, and we drove to The Old Tavern. We proceeded to have a blast, getting drunk, forgetting about Tom, work, and university. Rebecca snapped plenty of photos throughout the night and she was hit on by more than one overly interested guy in the bar, which did end up making me mildly jealous. We eventually decided to call it a night though. We hailed a cab, dropped Rebecca off at her house, and then I was dropped off at my place. I went inside and then passed out on my bed, still in my clothes.

I awoke the morning with a respectable hangover. Nothing too severe, but I knew I would be hurting for the next few hours. I still had a few hours before it was my shift at work so I slogged around my apartment. I ate breakfast, watched some TV, and then grabbed my computer. At this point, I was almost afraid to go to Facebook. I kept having weird premonitions it seemed, almost like a weird sense of Déjà vu with things I was seeing lately. In the end though, Facebook’s allure won out and I went to it. I saw typical posts from friends and family, but I also saw that there were pictures of last night with Rebecca, just recently posted I now noticed.

Before I could help myself, I was looking through the pictures. I got to a photo of us both in the bar, taking a selfie. I couldn’t stop myself, something compelled me, and I watched in shocked confusion as my fingers went to the keyboard and typed out a question.

Lol, when did this happen? I don’t recall going with you to this bar.

My finger pressed Enter, and the comment was posted. I didn’t know what to do, I clearly remembered last night, but yesterday when I saw these photos, this hadn’t happened yet. I was about to delete the comment when Rebecca posted another comment.

Haha, it was just last night! How could you forget?! You weren’t even that drunk!

I jumped. I jumped off the couch, letting my laptop fall on the ground. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity. I was shaking. Something was wrong with my Facebook feed. It seemed that if I scrolled too much up, I was seeing things posted before they happened. That wasn’t possible.

I gathered my senses. I didn’t have much time before work: only about another 30 minutes before I had to leave.

I grabbed my laptop and sat back down. I started scrolling higher, seeing more new stories. Stories that couldn’t have possibly happened yet. Pictures of my cousin’s wedding, which wasn’t happening for another few weeks. Posts from my parents grieving over the loss of our family cat, which was still alive as far as I knew. Pictures from friends graduating college, which wouldn’t happen until the end of the semester. Pictures of mine and other people’s travels of places none of us had actually been to yet. Pictures of me changing my relationship status to In a relationship. It was too much. It was as if I had been given some weird way of looking into the future, and I was overwhelmed. There were inconsequential posts, but there were also happy posts. There were also sad posts: people dying, national tragedies, losing my job due to poor work performance and then needing to move home due to lack of money, therefore dropping out of college and having to break up with the girl I was involved with.

Work. I should have left 10 minutes ago in order to get there on time. I pushed my laptop to the side and hastily got ready. While getting ready, I went to the Facebook settings and located the security settings. There was the option to deactivate my account. I was too freaked out to think otherwise so I proceeded to deactivate my account forever. Either I was going crazy, or I had been granted with some weird ability to scry into the future with my Facebook account. Either way, I didn’t like it and wanted nothing more to do with it.

My Facebook account was deleted. Many would ask why, and I had to explain to them that it was for personal reasons. One could saw I was performing the ultimate form of vaguebooking, but I couldn’t be on Facebook anymore. Not with this weird glimpse into the future I seemed to be able to make.

I went to work, with a steely resolve to pick up my act, work hard, and ensure that I wouldn’t get fired from work so I could stay and finish my degree. If Facebook was showing the future, I was determined to change it. I quite fancied Rebecca, and I wouldn’t want to have to break up with her due to me losing my job and moving home.

Posted on March 9, 2016, in Short stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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