Beyond This Mortal Coil

His name was Colin Longboe and he was my best friend growing up. I will always remember him; indeed, I remember his name long after I have deleted my own. Everything we did as children always turned into a competition, games, school and later on, dating. We fought as brothers did but we always agreed to disagree and moved on. Colin decided early in life to join the clergy for he believed that the entire Universe belonged to God and only through him could it be explained. Naturally, I went the another way and became a man of science.


The divisions of our beliefs never harmed our friendship. We grew to be learned men of our respective professions and we often met to discuss, debate and drink. And then one day Colin asked me a question. No, not a question, The Question, and it changed my life. He said to me, “Why does God allot only one lifetime to man?” It seemed straightforward enough and we had a good long discussion on the subject, but when Colin left, The Question did not.


For years it ate at me. I would forget sometimes, for a month or a week, but then something would remind me again. A birth or more often, a death, and I’d wonder why shouldn’t man live forever? If God is said to be immortal, then why not man? I brought it up again on another of the good Father Longboe’s visits and he told me that God had intended man to live forever, before the fall, but life, knowledge, was too attractive to man. Man wanted to learn, to explore, and immortality is stagnant. I was shocked at his statement, it seemed most uncharacteristic of a man of God, but he pleaded with me. “God is immortal, but he is never changing, he gave man a short life, but that life was his own to live, to learn, to change and grow. To live forever would be madness and lead to sadness never before known to man, only God could carry such a burden.”


I could not let it go, the idea was ludicrous, to be immortal would be to embrace those things that mankind sought so much. Nothing would be out of our grasp. Nothing.


And so the idea became an obsession. Immortality. The Holy Grail. The Fountain of Youth. Only I was real, and the science was advanced enough to achieve my goal. Colin died young, younger than he should have, but I lived and in secret perfected my technique. I remember Colin for this reason and this reason alone, I see now that he was right.


I live now as I have lived for thousands of years. Alone. The Earth, humanities home burned sterile long ago as the sun expanded. I haven’t moved for millennia, watching the blazing ball in the sky expand. I only hope now that Colin will be waiting at heavens gates for such as I. I pray for the sun to swallow the madness I live with.


He was wrong about one thing though. I feel no sadness. I couldn’t bear it. I long ago deleted that part of me. The sun is so bright today.