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The End of Eternity
“Jeremiah, do you love me?”
America and her boyfriend, Jeremiah, aligned themselves side by side in the soft, grassy field behind America’s house and gazed up at the twinkling stars shining in the midnight black sky. The midsummer night’s breeze blocked from their smooth mocha skin by only jeans and black sweatshirts decorated by red and white letters spelling out their high school’s name.
“America, do you really have to ask?” Jeremiah wondered, pulling her closer to him. “If you have to wonder whether or not I love you, then I haven’t been doing my job right.”
“I know that you love me, but do you love me enough to run away with me?” She asked, looking him sweetly in the eyes.
“I’ll follow you to the grave. I have time and time again. I ran away with you to Los Angeles in eighty-seven and we got shot in a drive-by. I followed you to Chicago in the sixties and we were killed. In the forties, I went to Texas with you. I love you enough to go to Texas with you in the forties! I don’t see the validity of your question. ” As Jeremiah spoke, his heart began to race and the pendant he wore around his neck began to glow. They both watched as the necklace illuminated the night sky before finally giving out. Quietly, they feared what that might mean. Minutes of silence passed and they calmed down. Eventually, they let the anxiety recede to the back of their minds.
“Momma’s sick and she doesn’t have much longer. When she goes, there won’t be anything keeping me here. Where do you wanna go this time?”
As a curse placed on their original birth parents by a shaman at the beginning of the world, America and Jeremiah never remained dead. Over the ages, they traveled the world. The pyramids of Egypt, Greek acropolises, Roman czars, civil wars, and huts on the Congo, Ireland, Russia, Mongolia, the Aztecs and Mayans, the Mayflower all dwelled in their memories. Jeremiah’s scars appeared as merely childhood accidents in this life, but in reality, they survived as reminders of sword fights, saber tooth tiger attacks, fights with dinosaurs, and bullet wounds from various wars. America’s wounds go deeper than any physical scar. The mental scars of existing as a woman over hundreds of millenniums maim her more than any weapon or animal retained the power to do.
“I’ve traveled the world with you. We’ve seen almost every place imaginable. Why do you wanna go so bad?” Jeremiah asked, attempting to find an answer deep inside his soul mate eyes.
“That’s just it! We’ve been almost everywhere, but no matter where we go we’re not happy.” The grass around them stirred with critters frightened by America’s voice. “We haven’t been everywhere. We’ve never been to Alaska, or Hawaii, or France. Come on, we can never die. Even when we do die, ten years later we’re just reborn into the next life. I promise, next time we can settle down and start our family.” America reasoned.
Jeremiah didn’t care that the rest of eternity belonged to them. Ideally, the two of them would be with each other forever. America wanted Jeremiah, too, but she wanted to continue to travel the world and he wanted to take a break for a while. He’d follow her anywhere she wanted, but she isn’t being fair.
“America, I will follow you anywhere and you know that. But I want to have a family. I want to settle down and live a normal life. I’m tired of running. I’ve been running since the beginning of time. Can we take a break? I’ve followed you everywhere! Please, I beg you, let us stay here. I love my family. I love this place. I don’t want to leave them. Not yet. Not until I have to.” He told her, fearing her reaction.
He existed to follow her forever. If she fancied it, he would submit. But not this time. His parents’ aging and Never had he loved and become so attached to anyone other than America. And never had she been so detached from everything around. Even her bond with Jeremiah was straining.
“When momma passes on, I’m leaving. With or without you. I’m not staying here. I’m not letting myself become attached to anything or anyone. You can stay. I’m not mad at you. I understand that you want to stay with your family. But after a while, you have to learn to not become attached. You know that.” She reminded him, still locked in his loving embrace.
“No matter where you go, I’ll always be near. So, if you really need to go, then go. I won’t stop you from being happy and doing what you want. Never have I ever hindered you from being all that you could be. But I can be a father, and a damn good one.
“This world isn’t the same as it was. We can’t be nomads and still live a regular life. Those days are gone - have been gone for years. I’ve lived forever and my body may only be seventeen years old, but I’m so old it’s incomprehensible. I’m sick of waiting. I want to be all that I can be. With or without you.”
Jeremiah sat up and his pendant yet again began to glow. This time, so did America’s. Glancing at each other briefly, they stood and turned away from the other. America walked to her back door and Jeremiah walked to his car. With their absence, the field began to cry with all the little critters that America and Jeremiah disturbed. Through the window behind her mother’s bed, America peered out the window and watched as Jeremiah drove away from her.