"Force my hand. Relinquish the truth. I'm prepared for the autonomy of fate."

She squints and rubs my forehead with the flaky pads of her thumbs. She's looking for something. She can't find it. It happens, I guess, I just didn't think it would happen to me.


I swear, she's been asking me to reaffirm for an hour. Eyes closed, I tell her, "The door is open." Taps on my temples signal for the next affirmation. "Light spills through." I know she's frowning, it's pulling all those wrinkles down her face. "All is divulged–"

"Male. Brunette."

Fuck. Fuck.

My eyes are open now. She must notice the panic, because she raises an eyebrow. "Y'want me to continue?"

I open my mouth, I want to say the first word that comes out, but there's nothing. I nod.

"Your age. Optimistic. Energetic. Continue?"

Suddenly it feels like she's far away, like she's squeezing the life out of me from miles away. I blink twice. She's still sitting on the velvet stool, fingers pressing into my malleable skin.


"You've only just become close with him, he's fresh on your mind, you spend a lot of time with him– continue?"

I'm just being greedy now. "Yes."

"Let's see... F-name–" She pauses. "You know?"

"I know."

She's smiling now. The bitch is smiling. "It may not be him."

"Just say it."

She says his name, but somehow she doesn't move her lips when she says it; the word just falls out. I pay her and leave with Hadds and we don't talk the entire walk back.

Hadds breaks the silence when we're standing outside his dorm room. "You believe your soulmate prediction?"

"No. Do you?"

"I do." He answers too quickly. There's concern somewhere in his eyes, but he's still smiling his winning smile. He says goodnight and I say I'll see him in class. Before I leave, I reach into the second-floor RA's free-for-all condom stash like I always do when I come around to the Burns dorm building. I take one for me and one for Finn. When I make it to our room in Silverton, I toss mine in my nightstand drawer and I place his under the comforter on his bed. He'll find it when he gets back on Wednesday. Dick. Fucking dickfaced, shitheaded– oh, there it is. There's the emotion I couldn't find on the walk back from Madame Julisa's reading. It was just hiding under Finn's comforter with the extra-lubricated condom, gnawing on bedbugs to stay alive until I could drag it out by the ankles and invite it into my headspace.

I don't hate him.

I'm staring at his poster with all the caricatures of famous writers getting drunk at a bar together. I'm remembering that time we got high and he couldn't get over the fact that Harper Lee was sipping on a cocktail labeled "Tequila Mockingbird." He started up this weird conspiracy theory about how Lee is Shakespeare in disguise. Then he started laughing and laughing, and I sat in the corner watching. I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't remember how. I was too high, too busy thinking about how thick the air felt. It was too warm in the room, and I was fixated on how cold I wished it could be.

I don't hate him; that's not possible. He's my roommate. He's my first and best friend at school. Am I envious of him? Sure. Finn's a coaster. He glides on the tips of his toes, the backs of his heels, the palms of his hands– whatever position he's put in. I'm a coaster, too. I'm the kind you put drinks on when company's over, put aside for a few months, and eventually forget about until you notice the lunar-eclipse-shapes on your new table.

Envy, yes. Hate? I don't. I can't. But, God, I wish.

Him and Ava, darling sweetie honey-pie Ava, are off in the Hamptons. Our school's break doesn't match up with hers, so he's spending an extended weekend drinking cheap wine and having cheap sex at her family's vacation house. Too bad he didn't get my condom-gift in time, huh? Shit.

I miss him. It makes Julisa's shitty vision even worse. Everyone tells me she's never gotten a prediction wrong unless the "soulmate" in question finds out, but that's hard to believe. Fate can't just put its hand on the stove and then take it off, right? That kinda defeats the purpose of destiny, right?

I'm gonna write her prediction down, I think. Scribble it on some notebook paper and shove it in his pillowcase or under his mattress so I won't know exactly when he'll find out. He'll read it and know not to say anything and I'll be cured.

We'll be cured.