Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Yeah Write #10: A Life Undying (#flashfiction #245)


Someone took great care selecting the furniture to coordinate with the warm, homey tones.   The cornflower blue couch, softened from many behinds, sank deliciously when sat upon — a hug for your ass.   A handmade quilt and hand knit blanket, both worn at their edges and entangled in each other, clashed and vied for attention.  The green, wingback chair looked as if an old grandfather should have been puffing on a pipe, but instead a man of forty-two — close to the appearance of my own years — with wire rims rested there with his legs crossed.  He asked, “What’s on your mind?”

I studied the lace curtains covering the high, broad windows.  The shadows of the bars crept through them and cast the true light on the floor like a fine print that warned:  for quality assurance this conversation may be recorded.

“It’s a lot to ask of a person, being alive all the time,” I answered.

As the silence stretched, it became clear I wasn’t going to say anything more. The doctor leaned forward and quoted, ” ‘Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.’ ”

My blood raced.  I turned away from the barred light and stared.  “Read my file and visited Wikipedia did you?”   I chided, but his eyes crinkled at the corners and a half chuckle vibrated in his throat.   His predecessors had all forgotten how to be amused, though they were well versed in the art of the fake, humouring smile.

“I use all resources at my disposal. But, tell me what you meant about it being too much.”

“Not going to ask me about my medication?   Or assure me that with the right balance the delusions will fade and my path to recovery will begin on a road paved with horseshit?”

Again, he smiled and shook his head, “A lot of brilliant people have interpretations of immortality.  I wouldn’t call them delusional.  I don’t think you are crazy…just sad.”

“Weary…”  I corrected, “Never dying thins and stretches you over the endless ages.”

“I’m listening.”

“There is time enough to do all that you could ever want.   To re-visit places to find them changed and new again, and to relearn skills the passage of time has made you forget.  Time enough to relieve you of all worry of your own death — to see the ‘I wonders’ realized and the unexpected surprise you.”

I took a deep breath that turned into an inhaled sob that made my eyes sting with tears.   “Then one day you find yourself burying another relative and one more friend until you’ve lost the counting — alone in your undying.   No mourners left for you; no one to remember.   You stop seeing the life in your own children, and await their last day that may come soon or late.   As you endure, in time, the memories of those you loved will fade into vagueness until you are reminded when doing some mundane thing like scrubbing the toilet.  At first the memory will bring a smile, but the ages take even that from you and leave only agony.  And then…”

“Then what?”

“You stop hoping that you’ll find another immortal to share the burden.  All you have left is to stop living because death is not yours to claim.”

“Is that what you are doing?”

“Existing pains me less than living.”

I heard the faint beep of the remote control in his hand turning off the recording device.

“Is that why you are here?  Hiding?”

“My file says I’m here because I’m crazy.   But one day, before they begin to believe the delusion themselves, I will convince them I am recovered.  I have had the time to learn how.  They will congratulate themselves, release me and I will exist elsewhere.”

” ‘I write of you to remember when time takes you from me.’ ”

“You found my diary.  You were always clever, Levi Royce.  Always digging where you weren’t supposed to be.”

“So, you do recognize me.  You didn’t have to leave,” he scolded removing his glasses.

“I stayed as long as it was safe to watch my son grow up,” I whispered looking away.  “The beard doesn’t suit you.   How did you find me?”

“It makes me look older.  And they found me.  An interesting case with your face came across my desk.”

“Ah.   Intend to fix me and take me home?”

His eyes were glassy red.   “And to share the burden, Mom.”


9 comments on “Yeah Write #10: A Life Undying (#flashfiction #245)

  1. Amy Bee
    December 23, 2015

    Engaging. I like your descriptions of the doctor/son.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      December 23, 2015

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 I appreciate it! He wasn’t going to be the son, but he wrote himself that way. Hah!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. innatejames
    December 24, 2015

    I loved “Existing pains me less than living.” Just. Yes. I was confused about “close to the appearance of my own years”. Does the mother look the same age as the son? If so, I’d expand on that. I would guess the daily stress of living in an institution would age a person.


    • Laissez Faire
      December 24, 2015

      I had to cut out a couple of lines hastily 🙂 It is supposed to imply that they look the same age (she’s stopped aging) though she is very old. And he has also stopped aging…he is older than he appears. External age mismatched to true age.


    • Laissez Faire
      December 24, 2015

      Oh…that”Existing…” is my favorite line. 🙂 Thank you!


  3. Polysyllabic Profundities
    December 24, 2015

    You had me at “hug for your ass”. lol


    • Laissez Faire
      December 24, 2015

      Hah! I had to write that sentence over a few times to cut down on length, but I was determined to make those four words work. lol


  4. c2avilez
    December 24, 2015

    I liked the couch sentence as well. Also the blanket and quilt description. It made me anticipate some conflict. This was an interesting read. Does her son share her immortality?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      December 24, 2015

      Thank you! I tried to curb my over description, and keep enough to set the mood. You are correct about the son. Indeed he does!

      Liked by 1 person

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