There I was, sitting in front of all my family and friends. They were singing Happy Birthday to me, I couldn’t keep myself from looking at each and every one of them, holding one persons gaze then moving to the next. I was trying to remember every wrinkle, every scar, every eye color and hair color. I was trying to imprint their faces to my memory. I’ve been practicing with trying to remember, because I know it will only be a little while before I will be gone. I always found it hard to remember after I started over. The memories always get fuzzy in the transfer. But I’ve been practicing, this has been my favorite life so far, I want to remember it.
I smile as the last person, my great grandson, Jack, finishes singing to me. I blow out the candles that read “100”, making sure I don’t blow too hard, making sure to keep my dentures in my mouth. It will be nice to have real teeth again, even if I have to wait a couple years before I have a mouth full again.
“What did you wish for Grandma?”, Jack asks me in his cute little kid voice, his adorable dimples showing as he smiles up at me. “My dear Jack, if I told you what I wished for, it won’t come true”, and boy did I want this wish to come true. I wanted to remember, to always remember this family and my sweet, sweet, grandson.
I stood up to start serving cake, I may be 100 but I could still get around easily. This was part of the fact that I always ate my vegetables, and part of the fact that they made me this way. They made me unable to be unhealthy, unable to deteriorate in any way, I always had to make it to 100 years of age. There was no room for mistakes. After the first couple of centuries, they got the program pretty much perfect. There were still glitches of course, they could never control who I ended up as, or what I remembered. But they can always find me after I’m born again.
“Who wants ice cream with their cake?”, my daughter Louise asks the group. She’s standing in front of a large tub of napoleon ice cream, and we both know the chocolate will be gone in minutes. I don’t know why we ever bother getting any kind besides chocolate, as our family is a bunch of chocolate loving fools. Almost everybody there lines up for ice cream. “I love you, darling.” I say to Louise as she’s trying to stop the ice cream from dripping down the ice cream scooper. “I love you too, mom.” I will remember this, not her words to me, but the feeling of being loved and the feeling of belonging. Those feelings never get fuzzy, they help with the transfer. When it gets too painful, the feelings of love I always keep stored away for this exact moment, overpower the pain.
I sat there watching my family and friends enjoy their cake and ice cream. The younger grandchildren making more a mess than anything, laughing at each others chocolaty faces. I turn towards my husband, Carson. He has a faraway look in his eyes and I know he too is taking in everybody’s faces. Trying to commit them to memory. He too, is like me, he will start over when the day of his 100th birthday comes to an end. Which happens to be 1 day after mine. He is the only thing I am always certain of, the only thing I can always look forward to in the next life. He is connected to me, and I to him, in more ways than just love.
I lean over to him and whisper, “I am sorry I wont see you to 100.” He turns towards me, with only love and admiration in his eyes, “You’ve seen me reach 99 more times than I can count, you’re not missing much with 100.” He started saying this 5 100’s ago. I always felt bad he had to deal with my passing alone, while I never had to deal with his. “100 suits you well, dear.” He kisses me, and only pulls away when Jack runs up and yells, “yuck, get a room you two!” Carson pulls Jack to his lap, “I’ll give you kisses too, mister, you don’t have to yell.” He proceeds to kiss him all over his face while tickling his belly. Jack is laughing up a storm and trying to squirm away. I will definitely miss this.
As everybody is finishing their cake and ice cream they begin to leave, “Happy Birthday, Joyce! We love you!” most of them call out. Only Louise stays to help clean up. “Thank you, dear. Me and your father can get this later.” She waves her hand at me and continues to clean up. She was always looking after us, even as a little girl. She likes taking care of people. She finishes cleaning and comes to say goodbye before she leaves.
“I love you mom, I hope you had a good birthday!”
“I did, thank you for throwing me such a great birthday with all the people I love.” I smiled fondly at her, taking in her face again. Knowing this would be the last time I seen her. “I love you, darling. I’ll miss you!”
“I’ll be over tomorrow to help you in the garden.” She waved me off, chalking up my “I’ll miss you” as old lady ramblings. As she left , I turned to Carson. It was surreal, looking at him for the last time like this. He was handsome in his youth, bright blue eyes, a crooked smile, and fiery red hair. This was my favorite him. Freckles splattered his old, wrinkled face. His hair now white, and his eyes not the bright blue they used to be but a dull blue. Still my favorite.
This is the part I hate the most. The leaving for the transfer, the forgetting, and the relearning everything again. I hate searching for him, the only one I’ll remember. It takes years to find him, I wish I could find him sooner. Be with him longer. He is my only constant. “I love you, Carson, I can’t wait to see you again, and I haven’t even left yet.”
“We’ll find each other soon, my love. I have a feeling that this time will be different.” He holds me in a tight embrace, as my body starts the process of leaving. My body begins to heat up, this is my soul leaving my body, this part never hurts. Carson squeezes me tighter, he refuses to let go, despite my body being hot enough to burn him. I hold his eyes with mine. Telling him one last time how much I love him and I will look for him as soon as I am settled in my new body. Suddenly, my body jerks and my soul is out, drifting to the place above.
“Happy Birthday, my darling love. See you soon.”