Simon Lowe

Jot down your precognition


My sister will be home soon. I will take off her coat and remove her shoes- allow her to reset after a busy day. I am going to suggest she sits on her favourite chair, which I say is golden, she says is brown. After a mug of something hot and a slice something sweet, I will tell her about the book I read today and my resultant, blistering hope for our future. I will reveal the enormous potential on offer – in detail. My sister will maybe cry a little (with relief) because we are concurrently unhappy, betrayed by the niggling exactitiudes of our life together. My sister uses un-words:unsustainable, unfair, unbearable, to reflect our many co-habited years together. I use different words with all together different meanings. Now, because of a book, I have a solution. Thank goodness. I am not beyond crying a little (with relief) either.


Usually, I go to the market for vegetables and cheap curios. Occasionally, I frequent Martin’s book stall and say hello because Martin and I know one another. We are excellent friends, in our memories. He was uncharacteristically grave when I sidled up this morning, my nose as closed as I could make it, to fend off the mildewed funk of his many, beaten books. Martin asked how I was holding up and I replied just fine thanks. He bowed his head in sadness and nodded slowly. He said, if I wanted to, I could choose a book from his stall and he would wrap it in brown paper and present it to me for free. He was of the opinion that an act of kindness, such as this, would provide much needed relief from whatever ailment he supposed I was suffering. Age can make a man strange, I thought to myself, referring to Martin and his many books.


I selected An Experiment in Time by J.W.Dunne, because of its golden cover, like my sister’s favourite chair. True to his word, Martin wrapped it in brown paper and delivered it to my grey gloved and grateful hands without any exchange of coins taking place. He said the book was a sensation one hundred years ago, causing people to wake in the night and jot down their dreams in search of precognitive imagery. I would have preferred a story about tail gunners in WWII or a failed plot by someone or something to destroy someone or something. Unlike my sister, I do not dream. I confessed this to Martin in the hope he might offer a replacement. Unmoved, Martin suggested on reading this once significant book I might begin to dream- you never know, he said.


There was little to do in the house, apart from wait for my sister, so I read my new, golden book. Struggling for comfort (my favourite chair is uncushioned) I considered moving to my sister’s favourite chair but it was not in its usual spot, next to the window. No matter where, or from which angle, I conducted my search, the chair remained out of view though. Soon, it didn’t matter, I was trapped, my head deep in An Experiment in Time. I reasoned that if it could teach me to dream, and its precognitive hypotheses were true, I might have visions of a happy future which would offer my sister the much needed peace of mind she coveted. I might convince her that continuing living our lives in unison, was for the best, in the long run, because I had dreamed of happy days ahead. 


I attempted to iron some of my sister’s clothes. Her wardrobe was empty. There were no shirts and trousers inside. No creases to flatten. I wanted to glimpse further scenes from my upcoming life. I was glad to forgo my daily ironing and return to the subject of dreams. The missing clothes, a missing chair, they did not concern me, not when our future was soon to be witnessed. Even the receptacles of moisturiser and make-up that I dust each day were gone from my sisters dressing table. I didn’t mind. I didn’t care. I  wanted to dream- precognitively. 


After I finished the last page of An Experiment in Time I was sure that night would be the occasion of my first dream, my debut moving mind picture. I played it, in anticipation. A lit fire, two golden chairs, a cheese board beside board games, disappeared tempers and vanished tears, not a hint of dismay. I wait in my favourite chair, a golden book in my lap. My sister will be home soon. There are flowers in the room and cards, cards with flowers. Many cards, many flowers. I cannot wait to tell her about the book I have read today. I will wait. I will wait for sister. As long as it takes. I sit in a chair, waiting for my sister to come home. Waiting to dream.

Simon Lowe                            

Simon Lowe is a British author. His stories have appeared in AMP, EX/Post, Breakwater Review, Storgy, and elsewhere. His novel, The World is at War, Again (Elsewhen Press) was published in 2021.