by Mark Diaz
You got another chance in life. To restart knowing what you know today. Would you do it?
|"So, what is your answer?" says the robot voice.
"If you had another chance. What would you do?"
I don't know what is happening. I was in the car, wheeling the wheels through town until I found something to do, then a red light, a noise, dark, hospital, dark again, and here I am.
"What would you do?"
It really does look like the afterlife, exactly how they say, white in every direction. Everywhere I look is white, white, white, there's black over there.
"What would you do?"
What would I do? Probably nothing. "Another life, you say?"
"Another life. Knowing what you know today. Another life. Another chance. What you say? What you say? Say it."
"Well… I always… wanted to play the piano."
"Piano. Piano. Piano," the voice whistles. It’s a mix of metallic and robotic. You only notice the difference between the two when listening side by side.
"What else? What else? Piano. What else?"
"Maybe the violin?" I say. God, this is hell. What does it want me to say?
"Piano. Violin. What else? What else?"
"I don’t know. Isn't it enough? Two instruments. A lot of people don’t play any… I didn’t play any."
"You don’t play any. Piano. Violin. What else? What else? Love?"
"Love. Yeah, good idea. I wanted to find love. A perfect woman. Or a man. Can I choose this sort of thing?"
"Piano. Violin. Love. Bi. What else? What else?"
"Children. No, children no. God, I don’t know. What do you suggest?"
The voice doesn’t answer me. I am alone in the white infinity, with the black over there. Silence. A deadly silence. God, the horror. Making decisions like this right now, without even leaving for later. How I am supposed to know what I want if I don’t try it?
"Try it. Everything," says the voice.
No, not everything. Sounds exhausting.
"Exhausting," it says.
"Yeah. Exhausting. I just lived. Give me some time."
And silence. A silence so hellish it looks like paradise. It's good, sort of. Over there there's black. What is that? Meaning? Food? Friendship? The black corner is the only thing I can pay attention to. The white is tiring, it hurts the eyes and the body and the effort but there, there is different. The black corner is a lazy Sunday afternoon. It looks like, over there, every day is Sunday. What day is today?
"Monday," says the voice. Monday.
"Monday," says the voice.
"Oh,” I say, “what is over there?"
I point to the black corner, supported by the existential nothing of the white. The voice has no body, but I have the impression it looked the direction I pointed. Everybody does that, right?
I hear a fire alarm. Quick and loud, almost impossible to hear that lasts 1 second and stops.
"Piano. Violin. Love. Bi. Children no. Today is Monday. What else? What else?"
"Why does it have to be Monday?" I whisper.
"Piano. Violin. Love. Bi. Children no. Monday. What else? What else? What else?"
"I want a dog."
"It's Monday. Instrument. Bi-love. Monday, no school. Dog. What else? What else? What else? What else?"
"That’s it," I say.
"That’s it," the voice says.
That’s it. Piano, violin, love and no children. Sounds good.
"You will live 78 years," says the metallic, emotionless voice.
78? Oh, come on.
"78 years. Ready?" metallic voice.
"What is that?" I point to the black spot.
"That,” it says. “That. There. Here."
"It's here. There is here," the voice says.
"Here," I say.
"It’s the emergency exit. It's here."
Emergency exit. When something is on fire and we open a door we are not supposed to.
"Not supposed to," metallic.
"Not supposed to," me.
"Not supposed to."
What if I open it? “If you open it. If I open it. If you open it. Yeah — I say — if I open it."
The door is next to me, three meters way, or two meters, maybe one meter away and counting. I just don’t know for how much time.
"What is dying?"
"To stop existing."
"And what is existing?"
The door has a golden, round handle, circular. At one of the corners of the circumference there's a scratch, revealing wood underneath the gold. It's paint. The handle is the size of my hand, and it's centimeters away.