The trouble with Name Spirits was that they seldom lived up to what they were supposed to represent, no matter that it was all there in the names they had chosen for themselves. Past couldn’t look past the end of her nose most of the time, or she chose not to; Present always failed to see that there was no time like the present; and Future, well, frankly there was no future for him if he kept wallowing in self-pity and regret.
Then there was Carrie, who cared about the job, yet was still carrying a torch for Future for some reason. The Spirit King reposed a lot of hope in that one.
The trouble with eternity was that it messed up with people’s heads. Future might have let go of the past – both literally and metaphorically – but he was still unable to focus on the present, and couldn’t see that a better future was there within his reach if only he stopped staring at the bottom of his perfect glass of water. Perfection was both unachievable and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things; a perfect moment would never be up there with counting your blessings and sharing them with the person – or spirit – you loved, and who loved you in return.
The trouble with denial was that you might easily observe it when it came to others, but you always failed to notice when you were knee-deep in its waters. And the truth was that you could only cross that river if you chose to swim its tide; no one else could do that for you, not when you refused to admit you were living on the other side from what you’d been wanting all along.
Which was even more irritating when you had to put up with not one, but three Name Spirits burying their heads in the sand as if waiting for Father Time to fix things for them. (Or Jacob Marley, as it happened.)
The trouble with second chances was that you were seldom graced with one, and yet more often than not people wouldn’t even notice. And while there were indeed no cats nor rivers to stop them, they would never know unless they tried.
The trouble with boxes was that they hardly ever contained cats, but they still held seemingly infinite possibilities until you resolved to open them. Even when they were a joint present from Present, his future-soon-to-be-present lover, and her past one.
The trouble with tea, on the other hand, was that you only had a limited amount of time to drink it before it got cold. Still, seven cups were somewhat of an improvement over six, if only because the one in the box had I’m the bloody King written on it.
So he sat down, brewed a cup of tea that wasn’t perfect, but very nearly, and drank it to all the – imperfect, and yet magical – things Future had in store for all of them, spirits and humans alike.