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On free will, and other predetermined things

Sitting here in this clean office, his books arranged neatly on their shelves, his computer humming on his desk, his phone flashing with messages, he tells me about free will. I look around the white walls, stare at the poster of blue and black Alaska. I’ve never been to Alaska. Maybe I should go. He coughs quietly. I look at him, his grey eyes staring at me. Well? he asks.

Free will? I say. I used to believe in free will. The priests would tell us that free will was a gift from god. But I was baptized into the faith before I was cognizant of my feet, I never chose to join.

You don’t believe in free will? he asks.

I think of the girl in that basement, raped and strangled before she was old enough to bleed. I think of that mad Ranger, beating the windows out with his fists before he was old enough to drink. I think of the men and women, walking barefooted and hungry through the richest city in America before they were old enough to die.

No, I say. I never asked to be born here. And isn’t that the meaning of free will?

He looks at his watch. Time’s up, he says. Will I see you next week?