“There is no future. There is no past. Do you see? Time is simultaneous, an intricately structured jewel that humans insist on viewing one edge at a time, when the whole design is visible in every facet.” — Dr. Manhattan, Watchmen
It is the first day of Christmas. In fifteen seconds, my True Love gives me my first gift. My True Love is saying, “You’re going to be so surprised by your presents.” Ten seconds from now she gives me the partridge. The partridge is in the pear tree. On the tenth day the lords are a-leaping. On the fourth day the calling birds flit around the living room.
It is the first day. My True Love kisses me and says, “I think I really nailed your presents this year. This is going to be the best Christmas ever.”
It is the twelfth day of Christmas. My True Love is leaving.
It’s the ninth day. My True Love can tell that I don’t like the dancing ladies. Or any of my other gifts. In thirty seconds my True Love is going to tell me that she didn’t get gift receipts for any of the presents. Tears run down my True Love’s face. “If you can see the future and already know what I’m going to get you and you don’t like the presents, why didn’t you try and stop me?” The ladies are dancing.
I’m explaining to my True Love that I perceive time all at once, and that I can’t change the future because for me everything happens simultaneously, and that’s also why it’s impossible to surprise me with a present (unless you use tachyon interference), and also that it’s okay that my True Love didn’t get gift receipts.
“How did you know I didn’t get gift receipts?”
“You just told me.”
It’s the twelfth day. I am ready to begin taking down the Christmas tree.
The sixth day of Christmas. My True Love and I make love. In the next room, the geese are a-laying. The partridge is in the pear tree. I am tired of this world, these people. Tired of being caught in their gift exchanges. Their White Elephants. Their Secret Santas. Santa does not exist. I could be Santa if I wanted to. I have the power to give everyone in the world everything they want. But what would happen after that? The world is a toy with no toymaker.
The twelfth day. My True Love pauses in the doorway. She turns to look at me. “And on top of everything else,” she says, “You didn’t get even a single present for me.” The door slams shut.
It is 1985. I am on Mars. That doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas, but it is a thing that is also happening to me simultaneously. On the eighth day, the maids are a-milking, and I’m explaining to my True Love that I was just back on Mars because of the way I perceive time (non-linearly). She clenches her jaw.
It is the twelfth day of Christmas. The drummers are drumming. The lords are a-leaping. The golden rings are still golden rings. I hover, cross-legged, in front of the Christmas tree. One hour and thirty-seven minutes ago my True Love is walking out the door. The ornaments float back into their boxes. One of the drummers stops drumming and asks me, “Uh, should we, like, give you some space, or do you want us all to just keep doing our thing?”
I teleport the drummers and the lords and the ladies and the pipers and the maids and swans and the geese and the calling birds and the turtle doves away from here. I disintegrate the French hens. And the rings. The partridge can stay. It settles further into its roost in the pear tree.
It’s the fifth day. I feel the weight of the golden rings in my hand. I’m explaining that, while I actually like this gift, I am not surprised by it, because I perceive time in a non-linear fashion. Behind me, my True Love is shouting, “I get it! I get it! I understand how you see time! I’ve read Slaughterhouse-Five, it’s NOT that complicated.” I admire the atomic structure of the gold.
It is the first day of Christmas. Five seconds from now my True Love gives me my first gift. She says, “I think I really nailed your presents this year. This is going to be the best Christmas ever.” The golden rings fall to the floor. The partridge takes flight from the pear tree. The lords are a-leaping and one lord snags his foot on the carpet and kinda trips and he looks around and then smiles like, “Phew, nobody saw that.” But I see it.
My True Love and I kiss. The partridge is already in the pear tree.