There was this old saying before the Dawn. Live every day like it’s your last. I couldn’t imagine living back then; none of us can. The spectre of death looming over you like that, ready to snatch away everyone you love. It was inevitable back then, death. One last cord tying us to the natural order. Holding us back.
I wish we could travel back through time. I wish we could tell every grieving parent and every lost lonely child that one day, we’ll cure death. And then bring them back here with us, to see the world we built. Show them what centuries of living wisdom can create. White towers and waterfalls and green garden cities, all taking life from the sunlight.
I don’t think people back then could imagine the kind of lives we have now. Day jobs are an ancient joke, as ludicrous as religion. The idea of waking up before sunrise and ignoring your bodyclock… dosing up on caffeine just to get out of your door… then you drive a fossil-fuel roadcar to an office miles away, and make currency for someone who owns your time. When people got home after eight or nine hours of that, they’d self-medicate on bad food and alcohol. They’d get sick and tired and overweight, then go and get their jabs and pills from doctors so they could muddle on through to retirement. What a life. If there weren’t the ancient videos in the cloud to prove it, I’d have a hard time believing it. Still do anyway, as a matter of fact. Then there was the other side to that ancient world… war.
I never met an old war veteran who wanted another war. Some of them are four hundred years old. Despite looking twenty. When they talk about the war, people listen. The world listens. We’ve never been to war since. The kind of horror they’ve seen, you can’t just erase when they transfer your brain to a new body. The memories stay in there. One time I got talking to a young lady in a park who was actually 342. When all you need to do all day is improve the collective life experience, you do a lot of talking. Anyway, she says that her family used to be christian. Historically speaking. There was this vague idea of an afterlife. She says that this world is the afterlife, heaven, right here and now. Says her imagination couldn’t even come close to the world we live in.
Sometimes I daydream in the garden, watching my son water the tomatoes and the herbs in the sunshine. I think about the first me, the original. I wonder what they’d think if they could see the world now. Or see me now. But I’m still that person too; I never went away. It messes with your head sometimes, that way of thinking. Especially if you switch gender and switch back along the way. I’ve still got old photos of me saved in the home cloud somewhere. I look nothing like me.
But… I am the first me. I’m still that brain. My body might be a tailored clone from a factory lab, a century or so younger than how I should look, but I’m still me… aren’t I?