Months after reading David Eagleman’s Sum, which is a collection of stories about scenarios in the afterlife that is my favourite fiction book, I am still loving the premise as a means to think of new concepts to write short fiction. Today, I have another one.
In one iteration of the afterlife, you end up in relationships with everyone you’ve ever wanted to be in a relationship with with but never got to, and everyone who has ever wanted to be in a relationship with you, but never got to. No doubt, with those who you had wanted to be in a relationship with, you’d try your hardest to make it work, even if there might be all kinds of obstacles that kept you from that relationship in the first place since it’s the same person except they’ve fallen for you enough to start a relationship. Reciprocally, those you didn’t want to be in a relationship with will try equally hard to make it work with you, with the only difference about you in said relationship is that you’ve fallen for them enough to start a relationship.
This will probably sound great to you, or at least the part where you get to be in a relationship with those you had wanted to be in life, but never got a chance to do so. All those possibilities of those fantasies coming true! It probably sounds even great enough you would gladly exchange it for having to live through relationships with people who wanted one with you but never had the chance to, unless you were an attractive women desired by all kinds of guys, girls, trans, and every identity in between.
However, once you thought about it, it’d only be good if you hadn’t lived long. That’s because if you’ve lived long, you’d know how some people just don’t age well. Physically, mentally, socially, or any number of combinations of ways. You recall seeing numerous unfulfilled crushes you had in your years up to early adulthood, a decade or more later, and being relieved you never ended up with them given how poorly they had aged! In fact, you now thank God for never having paired you up with them because any good that might have come with it certainly wouldn’t have been worth the divorce. Maybe it would have been fantastic for a little while, maybe, but you know now it would have ended up ugly, not unlike how some of them had turned out over time.
Now, with that realization, what was once a fantasy of an afterlife iteration, is now a nightmare! Now you wished you had died young not to have realized this. To at least enjoy the potential good times without the foresight of the bad outcome lingering on your mind as to where things go bad and how it might end up. But if you lived long enough and were able to learn, you’ll also realize that true love is not so shallow as looks, states of mind, and other negative aspects of a person. That if you were truly in love, you’d be able to adapt with the gradual changes, even occasional sudden changes, and that the person who you saw and deemed had not aged with without seeing them through the years in between, might still be the same person you had once longed to be with so much some time ago. And that this iteration of the afterlife is not only a series of fantasies come true, but romances come true, including those you hadn’t wanted to engage in initially.