After His Own Heart


I haven’t chosen a name yet.

This whole process has been- different. New. Like me.

I’m eighty-six years old, and I’m dying of Alzheimer’s. Well, actually, I’m four years old and I’m healthy as a horse; it’s my former self that’s dying, losing bits and pieces. To say that this process has taken an emotional toll would be like saying that birth trauma is an inconvenience. Still… I’m glad I’ve taken this route. Or rather, that my previous self did.

Nocter Pharmaceuticals approached me five years ago– my previous self, that is. I was an old man, with little left to live for and even less desire to. But they offered me something.

They offered me immortality, after a fashion. They’d clone me, build me a new, strong body, modeled on myself at twenty-three years old, and transfer my mind into it. Well, ‘transfer’ is the wrong word. ‘Copy’ is more like it. The copy would have all my memories. It would think it was me. Well, I am me. This is me. There’s no break in my memories from the point I lay down in their machine an old man and woke up in a tank young and new. They added some minor, intentional defects to lessen the shock: I still have a small scar on my right hand, and at my previous self’s request they kept my one tattoo, to remind me of my years in the Navy.

My life has been good, these four years. I’m obligated to take care of my previous self, to support him and keep him comfortable up to the end. After that, I take a new name, and go on with a fresh start. A fresh start with a lifetime of experiences under my belt, but with a fresh drive, a brand-new will.

I don’t resent my previous self, nor does he resent me. Our bond is impossible to describe– sometimes he’ll start mumbling about something that took place forty years ago, a fond memory whose edges have begun to fray. With my clean new brain I remember those events with crystal clarity, and tell him the stories of our past, of our childhood, of loves lost. Sometimes he wakes up in the night, weeping, begging forgiveness for past wrongs, for sins long forgotten by all others. In another world, he’d take those to his grave, unless he decided to burden some holy man with those out-of-context moments, the priest nodding and touching his face, telling him I forgive you, but not understanding the magnitude of the trespasses, not feeling the pain.

I do know his pain. And, when he wakes in the night, I am there, I stroking his face and telling him I forgive you, and he sighs deeply; he knows that I understand his pain even better than he can. He’s peaceful as he falls back to sleep. Absolution is only true when you have forgiven yourself… and what better way? Who better to confess to? I remember bright as day those private moments when he lost everything. I remember bright as day all the joys and tears of his life, because they’re the joys and tears of my life, too.

I’m not looking forward to his death. But when the time comes, I know that he will truly be at peace; his sins forgiven, his struggle carried on, his hopes and fears and memories truly immortal. Perhaps this is a selfish relationship, for both of us, but I don’t think anyone could begrudge a childless old man comfort in his last years, and I expect that while I won’t be able to command the innnate authority of his years, I’ll at least earn the respect of those who seek wisdom and experience. After all, I have the best of both worlds: I know what it is to live and die. I have been rejuvenated, or depending on your ideas, juvenated, and for a reason.

I’ll carry on and honor him when he is gone. And with my new eyes, the world looks brighter than it ever did.

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One Response to “After His Own Heart”

  1. annoying Says:

    with crystal clarity and beyond?

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