So Lia created this thing called The Short Story Society where for the month of December every week, there is a theme and you basically have to write a story that includes the theme somehow. This week’s theme is beginnings. I kind of like the story? It kind of made me cry.
When you have lived as many lives as I have, it gets tiring after awhile.You are born,you live, and then you die. Rinse,cycle and repeat. Sure the details are different but it’s the same components and you begin to realize that everything is starting to blend together. Maybe the middle ages was centuries ago, but to me it feels as though I was a simple peasant minutes ago.I’ve began to lose track of all the lives I have lived. I have began to wonder when this will end.
It’s 2016 and I’m an old man in a hospital room.My children are gathered around me, because the doctors are saying that I only have a few more days to live. The first time around death was scary and unknown but I’ve gotten used to it. I’m always sad to leave my life behind but there’s always a new one waiting for me. This one was an especially good one. I have three amazing children, and a wife who I have been married to for 40 years. I’m not always this lucky. Some lives end abruptly, others drag on. Some are painful, others are boring. I have had good lives, but the bad ones have vastly outnumbered those.
As Margo,my youngest, tells me about her job, a nurse comes in to take in my blood pressure. I hold out my arm,and look up. It’s her. Or him. Or them. Just as there’s always the living and the dying, there’s always the same person at the end of my life. Sometimes it’s a girl,sometimes it’s a boy but I always know.They usually somehow help me or at least ease my process into the next life. I’ve tried talking to them, but they’re completely clueless. Unlike me, they’re unaware of their numerous lives.
“Hey Dad we’re going to go now,okay? We’ll see you tomorrow?” I nod but I know there will be no tomorrow.At least not in this life.
As they file out of the room,I close my eyes and let sleep overtake me. I know by the end of the night I will be dead.
It’s 2026 and I’m a ten year old girl in Dubai. It’s a normal day and I don’t expect much out of it. I go to school,fight with my brother,and help my mother. After dinner I decide to go outside.I’m sitting on the porch, reading my homework over when a voice breaks my concentration.
“Hi.” I look up to see a girl smiling, a jump rope in hand. It’s them. I thought I would have more time but I guess there are other plans for me.
“Hi.” I wonder how I will die this time. How unsafe can a porch be?
“My name’s Anaya.” That’s weird. For the most part, they’ve always been quiet, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard their name before.
“Do you want to skip rope with me?” I hesitate but then nod Death would come no matter what I did.
So we start to skip rope and I’m waiting for the moment but it doesn’t come.I wait and I wait, and I’m still alive. Usually my death quickly follows their arrival but not this time. Either I have misread everything or something is terribly wrong. Either way, I don’t really care.Whatever will occur, will occur. So I just skip rope and enjoy whatever time I have left.
It is 2032 and Anaya and I are sitting on the same porch where we had met.It’s been six years and I’m still alive. I don’t understand it but I don’t question it. I have had a thousand friends but no one has been as special as Anaya.
“Can I kiss you?” I nod and she leans in and it’s like a million fireworks exploding all at once.. I’ve had a thousand kisses, but none has been as special as Anaya’s. She’s been at the end of all my lifetimes, and now she was part of one.
After that we live each other’s milestones. We move to England so that we can be properly recognized. In 2040,we make our love official. It’s been a long time since I’ve truly loved my life. I have always anticipated the next life, but I don’t want this one to end. Every moment with Anaya is special,every instant feels like a thousand lifetimes.
“I don’t want to die.” Prisha looks over at me and puts down her book.
“Anaya, we all die.”
“But I’ve died so many times.”Prisha looks at me confused. She doesn’t understand and why would she? How could she understand that I remember everything? Every life, every moment?How can she understand that our love meant something, that it was somehow part of it all?
“You’re not going to die.Not for a long time,okay?” I nod, but I don’t stop talking.
“Anaya I can’t lose you. I’ve lived so many lives, and you were always in them. But only at the end. But now you’re my beginning,middle and end and I don’t want to let you go.” She hugs me and even if she doesn’t understand, it feels good to release everything.I think about what will happen once I die, and hope that it won’t happen for a very long time.
We are walking down the street, laughing at a joke. I step out on the road before Anaya,not noticing the truck that’s barrelling down the road. I hear shrieks and screams, as my body falls to the ground. I feel the blood rushing out, and I hear Anaya running over to me.
“Prisha, Prisha. Stay with me.” I can’t see anything, but I picture her beautiful brown eyes and skin.
“I can’t.” I know in that moment that this is the end. The moment I have been dreading has finally come. And it’s okay. As long as she’s here with me, it’s going to be okay.
She’s talking to me but I can’t hear her. I grab hold of her arm, and let death take over me. It is only when I take my final breath that I realize that this is the real end. This is my last one.There will be no more beginnings.