I had this idea a few weeks ago, what if you knew the exact moment your loved ones were going to die? Then it evolved into more. What if it happened every time you made eye contact with someone.
I wondered what life would be like for that person. I wondered how they would feel about life and death. Would they try to save people? Would they be able to have any sort of relationships? What kind of job would they have?
So, I began to write.
I got used to looking away. At first it was hard not to tell them or at least give them some sort of idea of when it would happen. For a time, I thought it was a great idea to tell them. Especially if it was going to happen soon. I’d be in line for coffee and I’d see someone on the phone and it would change, right then. Their time was sooner than it had been just a moment ago because of a choice they had made right then. I would try and approach them and find some way to let them know they were making a bad decision.Unfortunately you can’t just go around telling people that they will die very soon if they do this or that. They would tell me I was crazy, or call the cops. I learned to keep to myself and look down at the ground as I walked through a crowd.I became a loner at a very early age. I never had too many friends growing up. Knowing exactly when your friends were going to die isn’t something you want to have in your head every time you see them.
I can remember the first time it happened. I was about four or five. You know those hazy memories you have from your really early childhood? The ones that play through your head in a sort of stop motion sequence. I remember sitting on the floor of our living room playing with my new doll that Santa Claus had brought me. She had pretty auburn curls like me. I remember my dad calling my name “Hey, Sarah, look up here at daddy!” When I looked up, half of his face was covered by a big bulky camera. I could see him smiling and making noises to get me to pay attention. I remember letters and numbers appearing right over his head. I pointed at them and dad snapped the picture. I started to tell him the letters I saw. I pointed above his head and said, “M! I see M daddy!” I began to clap my hands in excitement as I identified the remaining letters and numbers. I’ll never forget the way my father’s face looked when he realized what I was reading.
My father also had the “knowledge”, that’s what the two of us would call it. He explained what it meant once I was a bit older. When I was still young and pointing out letters and numbers above people’s heads my dad would remind me it was not polite to point, so I would whisper it to myself. When I learned how to read, that’s when everything changed. I couldn’t understand why I was seeing days of the week and months written above people’s heads. I remember asking him if that was their birthday. He smiled down at me “Sort of, it’s a special day, a day where they move on to a new adventure,” he’d said. My dad was a pretty great dad. He was always so optimistic, which is pretty hard to be when your daughter has told you the exact date you will leave her on her own.