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Twenty Fifty-Five:

Prophecy or Science Fiction?


Alice C. Bateman


I'm back after a break to have lunch with my beloved, followed by an afternoon 'nap,' if you know what I mean. John and I now have our own small cabin that we built ourselves, with a front deck overlooking the water. Our youngest, Melissa, lives with her three girls, baby boy and husband about a quarter mile down the road. Close enough for daily communication, but far enough away to give us privacy, something we lacked for many, many years.

Making love silently got to be such a habit while some or other of the children were under our roof, that it's been a big relief to be able to seek out the comfort of our bed and each other at any time of the day or night. Yes, we still make love. I told you we're healthy. On some level, I wish we were still producing children. I miss the feeling of a new life growing under my heart. But there is definitely something to be said for having time alone with John.

I still love him every bit as much as I ever did, and endlessly more. And, thank God, he feels the same. My body is still soft and padded the way he likes it. I never regained my slender figure after my eleventh child, but John has always told me that just gives him more of me to love. I'm blushing; I'd better change the subject.

The stubbornness of that man still gets me to this day. The day after we met, I left a message for him saying that I was thinking of him and had a very good time with him at the wedding. He called me back a few hours later, when he got home, and we talked for about three hours, until my kids came home from an outing with a friend. We discussed everything under the sun, and made plans to meet as soon as possible, perhaps the next evening.

I floated and glowed through the rest of the day, anticipating seeing the man I had suddenly developed such wild and uncontrollable feelings for. I didn't care at all that he was seventy-six while I was 'only' forty-three. I told my friends and even my mother that I had found a man I liked, and that he was considerably older. The intensity of my emotions and the sensations in my body were overwhelming, and I so looked forward to seeing him.

Then, on Monday morning, the next day, the phone rang, and the number showing up on the telephone's display panel told me it was John. Thinking that he was calling to make plans for the evening, I answered the phone with a happy heart. Only to hear his voice say, "I can't go on with us, Katherine, I had a bad night over Mary, and I can't see you. I'm sorry. Good-bye."

I couldn't believe it. I sat there stunned, holding the phone and hearing the dial tone. The happy glow that had so recently filled my life disappeared, and I cried and cried. I listened to the same CD's of heartbreak songs over and over for days and days, waiting for him to call back, tears running down my face most of the time.

I tried his number a couple of times, only to listen to it ring and ring. I pictured him sitting at home, listening to the phone ring, and being too stubborn or scared to pick it up. I mailed him a letter that I'd written in the middle of Monday night, with tears flowing down my face, and waited anxiously for a response to either my calls or the letter. Finally, the waiting and the heartache were over, and John and I were together for better or for worse.

We didn't know that the world was going to change so dramatically, and that after the worst that could happen did, we have come to realise that we are personally much better off as a result of the transition of the planet. For one thing, we are both still alive and healthy at an age so advanced that we would have been long dead, or at the very least incapacitated, in the former world. And we enjoy each other too much to even contemplate being parted by death. For all we know, we could live for hundreds of years in peace and harmony and quiet. Ah, here he comes now, in from the fields he loves to tend. I must stop reminiscing long enough to get the man some more well deserved nourishment. I'll not tell him yet that I'm writing about us. I'll wait for the right moment.

Reading the first part of this over, I can't believe that I forgot to mention that my parents, John's age, are still alive and well. They'd met Alex and Karen for lunch in Collingwood on that awful day, and, knowing that Alex would head south to look for me, they travelled north to see what they could find out about some of my brothers and sisters. They've settled about a hundred miles from us, sort of in a central location, and Dad has built a very nice house.

You know, in the other days, a hundred miles was nothing, but now that we're mostly down to foot or live horse-power or canoes, it can take quite a long time to travel that far, so we don't see them as much as we'd like. Heather settled very close to my parents with her family of nine children and the husband she found about ten years after the floods.

I'm having a hard time thinking of words to refer to that time. I think I'll just call it the Change from now on.

While I was inside the cabin just now, I dug out some of the poems I wrote and published before the Change. I'll set a couple of them down here, and you'll see what I mean when I say I tried to warn people they were headed in a bad direction. Actually, the first one's very long, so I'll leave off the first few verses. Here goes:




The abortions have to stop

We're killing God's Great Gift

The Gift of Life we terminate

Is causing a great rift


You don't want to see God Angry

Don't want Him to raise His Hand

He can cleave the mountains

Turn the rivers into sand



Do you want to see His Wrath?

Or will you change your ways?

It isn't just a rumour

The talk of Judgement Day



I thought I was relaxing

But I'm listening to my pen

It's saying now please don't forget

You're only fragile men



Not gods as you might think you are

You do not have the right

To manipulate the world

To terminate a life



"Is this good news, Katherine?

Do you want to have this child?

We could make arrangements..."

Their questions made me wild



Murder my own baby?

God would not allow me to

And I wouldn't want to, anyway

I wouldn't offend You





I have stood among the people

But not stood in their way

I have watched them grow and change

As they pass me every day



For most of a whole decade

I've listened and I've seen

I don't like what is happening

It's getting way too mean



We murder unborn babies

Put our old folks into homes

And spend huge sums of money

On shiny bits of chrome



We're disgusting Mother Nature

And God is getting mad

He's going to come and show us

What it means to be our Dad



I hope you can look back and say

I've lived an honest life

Loved all of my children

Been faithful to my wife



I've never hurt a neighbour

Nor killed a friend or foe

And if I lose direction

God shows me where to go



If these things aren't true of you, my friend

You'd better change your ways

It isn't just a rumour

This talk of Judgment Day


These poems were written nine years apart. I know that two lines are almost the same, but that's just the way they came out.

I did try to warn them, but they didn't listen or change, and so the world did.

I must sound like I'm preaching, but that is not my intention. I am trying to interpret the change-times so you can better understand the current age. John and I are the oldest people, besides my parents and sister, that we've encountered anywhere. We spent the most years in the folly of man, and can best tell you of your own heritage.

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