We did it for the eternal youth, not the immortality. Who wants immortality anyway when we’ve been discussing our eventual joint suicide for years now. I remember sitting on the porch with her, hands clasped together and a glimmer in the eyes, and we spoke of all we were bound to miss.
“Eh, I never really liked it. Too bright and too full of itself. Made me nauseous 3 times out of 5.”
“And sunsets are overrated.”
“Sunsets are beautiful, but only in the manner a painting is beautiful. There’s nothing of it to grasp with your fingers. Might as well watch it on YouTube.”
“Once my kindergarten teacher told me: you can touch the sun if you dip your fists in the ocean the precise moments it sets.”
“That’s both romantic and idiotic.”
“It’s something. I think I’ll miss the beach.”
“I’ll miss how its rays reflect off of your hair, leave it golden.”
“The effect can be mimicked artificially.”
“Not the same. Not as ephemeral. It’s magical because it fleets.”
“We can worship the full moon instead. The cycle gives us what, two days? It’ll part us too soon; we’ll ache for it.”
“And we like aching.”
So that settles that.
She shifted her feet beneath her, bare and tiny and out of sight. I thought of ache and sucked my lower lip through my teeth, focused for 2 minutes of silence on the gentle motion of our chests, rhythmically rising and ebbing. Living was a curious thing.
“Breathing?” I asked.
“Mechanics. Air doesn’t taste like anything.”
We paused to put this to the test. Sucked in oxygen in tandem. I visualized her lungs expanding to capacity and then evacuating, pink and fresh and slightly, just slightly, laced with tar.
“I’ll miss smoking.”
“The conscious destruction of it, never the nicotine.”
“Never the nicotine.”
She fell silent, gaze rising up to a tree nearby. She thought of organisms sustaining a monotone purposeless life until inevitable decay. I know because I thought it too.
“Feels obscene, betraying the natural order of things like that.”
“Aging, a life vanquished untimely, vanishing. The natural order of things offends me.”
“You think yourself too significant.”
“I am. The universe revolves around me. Until it doesn’t.”
“Death, a choice, rather than an obligatory destination.”
“Will you miss it, the fragility of our biology?”
She seemed to ponder on this one a little. People like to think of death as the ultimate life force. Fight or flight. Adrenaline. Survival instinct. Would our stupid bodies realize they are damn near invincible, stop rushing blood to our limbs because danger is no longer dangerous?
“No.” She said.
“No.” I thought.
“Flavors. Food. Vodka.”
Her eyes lit up, “Weed. Psychedelics. Intravenous opiates.”
I licked my lips, “Do you remember our covenant to start shooting up morphine before we kill ourselves?”
“It gave me something to look forward to.”
“And now we may go an entire eternity without ever knowing how it feels.”
She stared at me, wrinkled her nose in an exaggerated expression of woe. Who knew humanity had so much to offer and so little of it to do responsibly?
“Do you regret the things we didn’t?”
“One cannot tell where we would have ended up if we did. Here isn’t so bad.”
She exhaled; I squeezed her hand tighter. It occurred to me to ask her if morality concerned her. The words flirted with my tongue and faded prematurely. It’s a question for another day.
But we haven’t once spoken of everything there is to gain. Cynics don’t. And here, a purgatory between two worlds where all choices lay ahead, inviting, exhilarating, terrifying, wasn’t so bad. Wasn’t so bad at all.