And just like that, successful businessman Blake Walters died, just a moment ago. Blake was certain he was done for. He knew it! He didn’t know when, but knew without a doubt that cancer would take him and his large ego out. But life has a funny way of working itself out, doesn’t it? To his and a ballroom full of his peers’ surprise, Blake, mid-toast, chokes on a peppermint and dies. Here one moment, gone the next. That’s how life works out, right? No. Not this time. Not Blake’s seventh time.
Sable bowed and shook her head. “I know you have questions, but must you really ask them? Things would go along much quicker if you didn’t. But I suppose since time doesn’t exist here, that won’t be an issue. But just spare yourself the trouble. It can be painful.” “What can be painful?” I asked. “See, Kennington?” she asked her partner. “He has begun to ask questions! And he leaves us with no choice. We did agree that if this were ever to happen we would have to be honest.” Kennington still had his head bowed, gazing downwards sheepishly. “I’m sorry.” “Oh, don’t apologize to me. I only do this because I can’t have it on my conscience. You don’t owe me an apology, you owe Blake the apology” Sable said curtly. “But what on Earth are you two apologizing for?” I asked. As if to respond, Sable pulled out some luminous documents and looked them over attentively before handing them to Kennington. Kennington started to hover over towards me. “Blake, like Sable said, we promised that if something like this were ever to happen we would make sure that we,” Kennington looked back toward a downcast Sable whose back was turned toward us “were honest with whomever it was that happened to be involved—but now that it has happened…we are finding it difficult. ” “Difficult to be honest about what?” “Honest about how things go.” “For goodness’ sake, would you two just get on with it and tell me what in the hell is going on!” I demanded. Both Kennington and Sable stared silently at me, surprised by my angry outburst. I could tell that neither of the two wanted to tell me exactly what was going on, or what was about to happen, and so I kept yelling. “Well get on with it!” Their reply was, again, silence. “I’m sorry,” I said, ‘I must not have made myself clear. FUCKING SPEAK!” “Well, all right Blake,” Sable conceded. “But before I continue, please know that there is no point in raising objections to anything that we are about to tell you, because this is how things have always been, how they are, and, until further notice, how they will continue to be. Do you understand?” By this point, I was sick and tired of my companions’ being so vague and ambiguous with their statements – I just wanted some damn answers. After all of this, after living life and such, even death was complicated. I had envisioned that dying would be an event of sheer simplicity. Why can’t anything just be simple? “Yes, I understand,” I said. “You got that, Kennington? He confirms that he understands, so note it,” Sable instructed. Kennington nodded, jotting down something onto the papers he was holding. “Very well then,” Sable continued. “Blake, have you ever gotten the feeling that you had done something before? Perhaps as if you had known someone before? As though something was so deeply familiar to you for some unknown reason? That indescribable sense of acquaintanceship with an idiosyncrasy, with certain specific sensations and experiences; have you ever felt that?” “Well—I suppose that I have.” “If so, that’s because – and it may not necessarily be true, or rather it might be – because you have indeed done it, whatever it may be, before. Saw it before. Smelled it before. Had it between your fingers, before. Perhaps you have traveled there in a dream, once before. You might have heard it in the unexpected wisdom of a child. Perhaps the child asked you a difficult question and made you think How could such a young person ask something some profound, so perplexing, yet be so young?” Sable continued. “It seems as though the connection we share with some things is embedded within us, that we carry such familiarity and instinct within us. Phenomena like déjà vu and seemingly random, coincidental occurrences do happen for a reason and they may in fact yield considerable insight into the shadows of your former pasts and present situations. But the feeling of ‘I can’t quite put my finger on it’ which lingers in us but goes unanswered and unquestioned is, simply put, a minor glitch in the systematic reproduction of life. What we have today, with you, Blake, is a big glitch.” “I’m not sure I follow. What, exactly are you getting at?” “We are about to enlighten you about the reason behind that familiarity,” Sable blandly said. “Well, get on with it then!” I barked. I was nearing my wits’ end. “The source of that feeling is an inevitable fracture in the system that is the reproduction of life. There just aren’t enough unique experiences to go around, so most in their lifetime experience scripts similar to those of others, regardless of external qualities that limit and separate us, like gender, or even spatial differences, for example.” Sable continued. “The truth of the matter is that a near-complete total of the existing population has been alive and died before and repeated that process, all without any awareness of it ever happening.” “My God…” my voice trailed off. “Yes,” Sable continued, interrupting my expression of disbelief “And this is where God intervenes. God’s gift to us in death is forgetfulness. In each of our lifetimes, we have no recollection of our pasts, no recollection of our former emotions and all sorts of the intangible-yet-validated things that are produced by our experience. We don’t carry those memories, however good or bad they may be, with us. We just forget them, and we start afresh. Tabula Rasa – life is a brand new experience each time. Only in certain instances may we reconnect with those former pasts, through those moments of indescribable familiarity which we’ve already discussed.” “Like the urgency you feel when you’ve had to whizz for a long time and just remembered that you had to go or you would wet yourself, publicly?”