Issue 35, Final Fringe

I Will Miss You When You Are Gone

by Jacob Driscoll Issue 24 11.15.2010

3.

“I’m too big for this life.” The knife-child is on an ego trip.

“You’re arrogant.”

He notices the exhaustion in my voice, and presses on with screaming steel. I am getting tired, and he is unrelenting. “What is there to do? What do any of us accomplish? You live, you take up space, air, food, water, things that could go to feed the starving, to nurturing the next Einstein or Chuck Norris or Buddha. Someone who would accomplish something. You consume what they could have, and what happens? What does the world get, because of your existence? You could do so much if you weren’t mortal, but you will die, and there will be so much left unknown, uncompleted. We’re all too big for our lives.”

“The only thing people would accomplish with more time is probably more TV and casual sex.”

“Those are good things.”

“Only when the end is near. When the end is far away, those are lazy things.”

“Accidents happen. Even for an immortal like me, the end is always near.”

“Unless you stop time.”

There is a razor smile. “Exactly.” 

“And that’s why you’re here.”

“You don’t want me to take your picture?”

I do want him to. He makes a persuasive case. I am living a lie. I would be remembered fondly. He has taken my friends before me, appearing as fire and water. He took many more people before them, and he will take more in the future. Take their souls. Take their pictures. Make them remembered. Give them context. Set them free.

But.

“I’m not ready to stop yet.”

The knife-child is thirty seven billion years old, but he is not immortal, and he’s barely pubescent. I’m thirty-two, and I’ve been with him for sixteen years. In that time, I’ve come to know him. He fears his own death, and he welcomes what he fears, because he is a hero, a savior of souls who is too big for his own life. He is arrogant.

“You’re alone now,” says the knife-child, persuading with a dual-edged serpent’s tongue. He glances down at his scissors-feet. There, in pieces, are pictures of my friend scarring her arm, and floating in the ocean, and praying to God. There, sliced into ribbons, are pictures of my other friend strapping on explosives, reading the Bhagavad-Gita, kissing his wife. There, punctured and torn, are pictures of the love of my life, the back of her head, sitting alone and listening to music, and then running away from her wedding. In every picture, I am absent. I wasn’t able to save any of them. I can’t stop him, and he knows it.

This is what I tell that child: “They’re all here with me. It’s just that they’re all invisible.”

His saber-eyebrow is raised. “They’re all imaginary, you mean.”

“Invisible doesn’t mean imaginary. I’m imaginary, but I’m visible. You’re real, but you’re invisible.”

“I’m not real,” the knife-child protests, almost petulantly. Jabberwocky philosophy has blunted the screeching edge. “You are.”

“If you kill yourself, I die. If I kill myself, you’ll live on forever.”

“I’m an avatar, an anthropomorphized metaphor for a concept, a hallucination born out of your fractured psyche. I am your lust for nothingness. You are a human being.”

“Are you sure it’s not the other way around?”

The child glares at me with dagger eyes. “You’re just jealous because I have their love. That’s something you could never have.”

“It’s just an infatuation with you.”

“It is a love like death. It is forever.”

“You’re infuriating.”

His smile is back, all ivory knives. “Then stop believing in me, if you can. I’ll leave you alone the moment you do.”

“You should stop believing in me first. I don’t trust you to leave.”

We are staring at each other. He doesn’t stop believing in me. I don’t stop believing in him. For now, it appears we are at an impasse.

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Jacob Driscoll

Jacob Driscoll

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Jacob Driscoll believes that you are a good person. He wants you to know you are not alone. He is cheering for you. Jacob lives and writes in Brooklyn. He has written interactive fiction for EN Publishing, including The Indomitable Fire Forest of Inennotdar and the upcoming The Dying Skyseer. He knows you can pull through this.