Kenda was well aware of the difference one small choice could make. A left turn instead of a right, a smile instead of a frown, and the course of entire lives could be changed. She almost wished that she were a mortal being; they possessed a certain happiness in their blissful ignorance, unaware of the far-reaching ramifications of their seemingly insignificant actions.
But as a non-temporal being she was privy to no such luxury. She manipulated the threads of her own existence with weariness, constantly following them into the future to ensure that no calamity would result.
It seemed unfair. With all of the powers that she possessed, she should be able to squeeze more joy from her existence. And yet every new day was the same routine of checking and double checking every action, every thought, careful to maintain her well-ordered existence.
“You could try a mortal life,” her friend Yasmine suggested.
They reclined at the edge of the Orion nebula, sipping exotic drinks as the band played in the background.
Kenda shrugged. Taking on a mortal lifetime was currently en vogue and it seemed that all of her friends were trying it. But a mortal life was fraught with uncertainty and she had no idea how anyone was able to stand it. She couldn’t possibly put herself into such a position.
She rose and dipped her toes into the edge of the nebula, making small ripples on its surface. Then she peered at the threads of the future, quickly checking to make sure that her small action had not had any unintended effect on the baby stars that were incubating within.
“Let’s go to last Tuesday,” she said suddenly. It had been fun. There had been a huge party on Saturn’s rings, and Rolf had been there.
She missed him now. He had taken on a mortal lifetime the following day and, even though she could easily go to ninety-seven years from now and be with him again, he would be different when he returned. He would have a wealth of experience that she didn’t share, and she didn’t like that it would be there, hovering between them and subtly altering the dynamics of their relationship.
“We’ve gone to last Tuesday five times already,” Yasmine complained. “Can’t we do something different for a change?”
And so they wandered among the stars instead, a cosmos of delights, pleasures for their taking. Nothing was withheld from non-temporals.
They came to a small solar system and Kenda dipped her fingers into the cotton-candy clouds of a nearby planet, as if she were plucking the strings of a guitar. The planet hummed with the vibration, sending a resonant song into the universe. A few of the nearby planets picked up the tune and added their harmonies to the mix, and suddenly the surrounding space was filled with an ethereal chorus.
A nearby comet swung close to bathe itself in the melody, subtly altering the path of its trajectory.
Kenda peered at the threads of the potentialities that would result. Several paths stretched out before her gaze. There were a few outliers, wildly divergent, that veered off immediately following the initiating event, but most converged onto a single and thickly woven strand.
Because of that slight alteration in its course, the comet’s path would take it, exactly two hundred and thirty-seven years hence, right into the orbit of the third planet in this system. The collision would be catastrophic.
With a sigh, Kenda went back to before she had disturbed the clouds and passed by without touching.
The event undone, the glorious chorus fell silent and all went back to as it was before.
She thought about Yasmine’s suggestion. Could she try a mortal life? Could she go from knowing to unknowing?
Kenda peered into the future again. All of the potentialities had now converged, and one sure course stretched before her.
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