a short story.
lovers lost then found and lost again.
He was birthed into existence kicking and screaming,
though he would have no memory of this.
An average boy born to an average woman.
He grew through childhood happy and doted on
though not wealthy or heir to an easy life
he did well in his early years of school
and had a penchant for rote memorization.
He always retained any information that he was fed.
As he aged, his interests moved from curiosity of the world
to curiosity about girls.
His teenage years were only slightly awkward
and he scraped by through high school with little interest for knowledge.
He came to love music and art and girls, girls, girls. He wore his heart on
his sleeve and gave it away freely
never thinking of the possible consequences of heartbreak
or that he would take his heart back at the drop of a dime
and throw the hearts of other girls into the trash.
He only ever just went for what he wanted
always living in the now, planning for the future, and remembering his past.
It wasn't hard, he had a wonderful memory and an easy
childhood. He blocked nothing out, he remembered everything.
He was exposed to different religions and many different concepts of gods.
Although he didn't realize that he was a skeptic, he was.
With no formal education, and no desire for one,
he had only what he learned from friends, family, and
It was an emerging technology in his early youth and he
grew up with it.
Like most young adults growing up in a post-nuclear family society,
free from the shackles of religious indoctrination- something for which he was very lucky-
He had a budding fervor for figuring out what it all meant:
Life. Why was he here and where was he going?
Why was he born at all?
He looked back at the history of mankind and the universe at large
and became quickly overwhelmed with an abrupt
wall of information and depression.
It seemed, the more and more he searched
that there was no inherent meaning to life,
no god that he could feel intellectually honest worshiping.
He was a confused young man in 21st century society
surrounded by what appeared to be sheep in people costumes.
He met others like himself as he continued to live on
paying the rent, living on his own, experimenting with drugs and playing the music he loved.
He was a consumer the same as everyone else and he knew it.
Making good friends and filling his head with knowledge wasn't quite everything he felt he needed.
He knew that something was missing.
He could not place his finger on it,
and every time he tried,
it would move and he would be stumbling around in the dark again,
fingers reached out and stretched, sensitive to the touch of others.
He fell into a serious love and relationship early in his prime.
It was unlike anything else he had experienced through his teenage years
full of a kind of carnal lust and intense passion
where both parties were equally engaged.
It was the kind of love that you read about in books
and see in movies, a young burning love that would break two hearts equally
when it was over.
And it would be over. How could he possibly have only one love in his life?
He knew, as a matter of fact, that loves would come and go.
That they were random and ultimately pointless.
At this point in his life, he had left behind all the irrational beliefs of his childhood and naive teenage years.
He had begun to explore science for what it was, and realized that his desire for knowledge was greater than anything he had experienced in his youth.
Those were years spent playing video games, watching movies imagining guns and explosions.
He was good at everything he did, but he never spent enough time in any one thing to become a master of it. So when he delved into knowledge
he was suddenly aware of his own ignorance.
And it hit him that there was so much he didn't know about life
and couldn't even imagine about life
if he didn't start learning and experiencing immediately.
And so he did. He read books large and small
he scoured internet encyclopedias and read about anything and everything he could find
about knowledge. He became obsessed with learning about everything
even learning itself.
He built up in himself a basic understanding of reality at large, and could tell the story of reality to anyone that didn't know it, all because he wanted to.
He felt that the ignorance around him was unacceptable and would do everything he could to change it.
He spoke out against the religious indoctrination of children, he ranted on about how little everyone around him actually knew and he was ignored and even blocked by the people that didn't want to hear it.
He stood his ground and eventually fell into the line of balkanization that was tearing it's way through the society and civilization in which he lived.
On one hand there were people that worshiped deities or the stars and planets above, people that believed the world in which they were created was merely the work of a god and had only just happened in the last few thousand years.
Most of them worshiped the same god while fighting over what the god had done or said to who and where. They could never really agree and they fought and died because of it.
On the other hand, there were people that had no beliefs in deities or miracles or magic. They experimented and made suggestions and revisions and always checked one another's work.
They cried out in alarm when they realized that, as a species, they were killing the planet and endangering their children's futures.
They had to share the planet with the people that believed. And the people that fostered things in and on faith... well, they didn't believe them.
If what the skeptics and scientists said wasn't what the religious wanted to hear, it was dismissed and ignored.
And he was witness to all of it and could do nothing about it. It wasn't that he couldn't fix things, but that in a an ocean of 7 billion people, the loudest voice you can muster is a whisper to the dull roar of everyone else.
He went unheard and unable to spark change. He lived in a society over which he exerted no control, but had only to submit, His life was becoming difficult because he knew that he wasn't really free.
He was expected to get a job and work until he died and make a family and obey all the laws that other people had made.
Thus was life.
By the end of his prime he was beginning to stumble over stranger and stranger thoughts.
The universe, he thought, had no beginning, no end, maybe.
It was only a series of coincidences that led to his own existence.
A fucked B and made C, he thought, and C could have been D or E or even Z,
but for some reason, it was C.
That reason could only be other circumstantial coincidences leading to the moment that whatever happened, happened.
Nothing had purpose and everything was pointless. But it happened anyway.
He thought about how far mankind had come in the last 50 years, creating rockets and televisions, cell phones and the internet, about how he had access to the entirety of human knowledge in his pocket or on his wrist.
It made sense, he thought, that it all could have already happened an infinite number of times. Life and existence and reality. He thought that maybe he was just character in an intergalactic reality show or experiment.
One of 7 billion, being watched at any given moment by any other form of unimaginable life, beyond the comprehension of his limited human brain.
He thought that it would likely be an 'artificial' intelligence of some kind that, in order to improve itself, it had to have a better understanding of human emotions and empathy.
So maybe it would observe and learn. Maybe the singularity that the scientists were talking about had already happened, and that anything and everything he was doing was merely a simulation.
He became aware that he was in a simulation.
Or at least he strongly suspected that it was. There was no way to test it or prove it. He thought that the only way would be to end it. And the only way to end it, he thought, was to end his life.
If he were right, he would wake kicking and screaming in some distant future, likely confused and horrified momentarily as everything settled in on his mind.
The idea was startling, frightening, exciting, and absolutely mad.
The way he figured it, life was most likely one of two different scenarios:
One, an endless line of chaos, coincidences, and cosmological evolution, Maybe even the first time ever, consciousness as he knew it existed within a universe that had a beginning or something like it that he couldn't grasp. He and billions and billions of forms of life were observing and interacting with one another on a remarkable rock hurtling through a vast and dangerous cosmos, indifferent to their existence and pointless as well. It was very possible that it had never happened before and may never happen again. Once his brain was dead, consciousness for him would cease to exist. It would be nothing.
However, there was the second idea, which he had conceived over the years from observing the very thing that should be it's undoing: coincidences.
There were so many that it was boggling his mind beyond repair. He couldn't believe that there was an inherent point to his existence unless it was created by something.
His existence was either for something or it wasn't. He saw it in black and white and the binary for which he thought it could be:
ON or OFF.
ON to experience life as it is, with all it's hardships and ugly duckling days of death and destruction in the midst of flowering children begging for food or cars or money or nothing at all.
ON was a simulation, if there was no other word for it, of everything that humanity had experienced the first time all those eons ago.
His own consciousness would have first sprung into existence as a result of circumstance and chaos colliding the coincidental way that they do.
And he was reliving it for some reason that his simulated self wouldn't be able to prove or know or possibly even guess.
He figured that he was probably supposed to be unaware and ignorant of that possibility throughout the simulation, but thanks to a series of circumstance and coincidence, yet again, he had delved into the idea of AI and possible futures long ago.
Maybe it was that he had done just enough drugs to have his mind opened to the idea that it was likely the case.
Maybe he was born with just enough genetic predisposition for psychosis that it didn't seem crazy at all, but that it made more and more sense the more he thought about it.
He was very well aware that he would be considered paranoid, maybe labeled as a megalomaniac with grandiose delusions. But what would it matter, he reasoned, what would any of it matter when he turned it OFF?
OFF would be an infinite existence, which had no beginning or end. OFF would be rather boring he thought.
So wouldn't he naturally jump right back in?
And if that were the case, shouldn't he try and accomplish as much as he can while in this simulation?
What if it were a reality show and he was being observed? To commit suicide and cop-out would be disappointing to his observers.
What if the the simulation was the drug of the future? Experiencing brief lives, unaware of infinity?
If that were the case, he couldn't waste the drug by killing himself and ending the experience early. Wasting drugs is something you don't do.
Especially... if the drug is life.
So if he were in a simulation, he wondered, what then?
It must have been intentional and have a purpose.
He had always felt deep inside himself his entire life that he was supposed to do something.
Now he had reasoned himself, delusional or not, to the conclusion that his life did have a purpose after all.
He didn't believe for a second that it was any of the religions that the believers had invented over the centuries of human existence.
He was surrounded by people that believed, fervently, they too had a purpose.
They were mostly the same, worshiping a god. By the millions they reproduced and regulated the way things were.
He was supposed to do something great and he didn't know what.
So he just continued to live his life, but with a rare vigor knowing that the simulation could end at any moment and he would lose.
He couldn't let that happen.
And so he did the things that he wanted to do and that made him happy. He created endless catalogs of music and art and words about anything and everything.
He wanted to make his mark on the universe in which he was currently existing. So he just continued to create and make noise and try and make people laugh and bring people together.
That was what he did the most of. He brought people together and helped to create bonds between people.
But something was missing and he could feel it in his intuition if nothing else. He had no bond of his own.
It started to become clear that he wanted a partner with whom he could bare all of his secrets.
He wanted love like everyone else in the simulation,
He wanted EYE to EYE, the kind of close that the long dark secret hours of the night brings when two people, boy or girl or both or whatever just lost in one another where he'd forget for those precious passing minutes and that he's not in space or an ocean just swimming or floating in. He wanted what you would consider true, real, raw, beauty-beauty. Not make-up not cute hats or darling outfits, not the face she had been born with or the body she took care of, but the humming and electric buzz of human connection.
He thought it was as if there is an imaginary exclamation point and arrow pointing at a girl that he was supposed to talk to, to meet, so blatantly and suddenly obvious that he couldn't ignore it.
For years he ached, longed and searched for it and it was finally there when he had only barely realized it.
The circumstances of their meeting, although both coincidental and ironic, are another story entirely.
The point is that she had arrived, his purpose was becoming clearer
but he only knew how relationships worked to the extent that he had experienced them.
A serial monogamist and heterosexual, his experience of relationships thus far was based entirely on physical attraction
And she was gay.
See, I knew this couple.
Their love spanned lifetimes and centuries and the rise and fall of nations.
Planets were colonized and humans scattered among stars and cosmos,
While most people had many lovers and never ending relationships lasting as long they wanted them to because ... you never died...
This couple chose, to the anguish of nearly everyone else... to remain .... a couple.
They married and they never parted. They lived their own lives and each had their own happiness that they shared with one another.
The happiness they shared blossomed and bloomed over an eon of human interstellar expansion.
They knew one another as each one knew their own self.
They had one argument:
Is their such a thing as a soul mate?
what, for that matter, could be a "soul" they questioned and debated on and off for quite possibly decades.
Until they realized they could figure it out only one way.
She said she believed that things happened for a reason and that souls will find one another some way or another. Even if they have to travel across great bounds of space or time and all the other dimensions that could possibly be.
He said that everything didn't happen for a reason. That you had to give it a reason, and that there was no such thing as a soul. That if two people found each other, it was because circumstance and randomness had led them there. That their choices were what put them into and through the dimensions in which the could possibly exist.
So they pulled out a neat and terrific invention that an hyper intelligent super computer had thought up a few centuries prior:
A universe and life simulator.
You would start a simulation of the universe, throw your unconscious self inside of it, choose an era to be born into and hopefully have fun.
It was supposed to be random, controlled chaos, a simulation of life
as it was for the average person born in whichever year or decade in whichever century you wanted to experience.
So they both entered the same simulation on different sides of the world in roughly the same time.
The early 21st century, for comfort, and ease of communication.
Though the lives and genders they started for themselves were generated randomly.
He was born a heterosexual male, In the United States, white and lower middle class, at the very end of Generation X.
She was born, coincidentally, a female, and slightly ironically, a homosexual. She was born in Europe into a white middle class family in the bright and burning year of 1984.
They had no idea that they were supposed to find one another. They weren't aware that they had put themselves willingly into a simulation.
The boy, my good friend, would go almost insane through the use of drugs and maybe too much science fiction literature at his disposal. But I've already told you about all of that.
Wouldn't you like to hear about her next?