Recently, two friends — Jenn and Curtis — introduced me to a book called “SUM”, an aptly named collection of 40 short stories that explore one of the last frontiers, the afterlife. A neuroscientist by training, the author David Eagleman dives into the possibilities of what “could be” in the hereafter. As I read it, I wasn’t so much drawn in by the writing and the literature of it as much as I was by my own scenarios it seemed to trigger. Here is one of my takes on exploring what could be … my first “fan fiction” of sorts if you will.
In the afterlife you meet your spiritual doppelganger – your direct moral opposite. The Jekyll to your Hyde, the angel to your devil. You both do a double-take as you pass through the gates of Death and file in silent columns as you wait for your new identifications.
You sneak a look over at the silent figure next to you; it’s not the physical likeness that draws you, it’s an energy that pulls you in that you’ve only experienced for split seconds in your prior life as you drifted through dreams — that surge that comes from connecting neurons magnetically drawn to each other by a force that predates their existence.
As the clergy in the chambers of Death verify your identity and usher you through its gates, you both turn at the same time, simultaneously asking “tell me where you’re from” and briskly saying “there’s no need to revisit the past”. In the silence that follows, you realize that nothing needs to be said — you’re already connected. You see the person you would have been if you had made the exact opposite decision of the one that you did — you saw how by choosing to run three miles further that day instead of stopping at your local cafe as planned, you missed meeting the would-be love of your life. You saw how if you had turned in the phone you found lying next to the park bench, you would have ended up an accomplice to a petty bank robbery.
As the end of this murky silver scene you sense unfold inside of you, you realize that you’ve simply been staring into yourself the whole time. You realize that your choices are what shaped you and that your soul knew all along what it was doing, and whatever regrets you once had, if even for a fleeting moment, had been futile. With that you step boldly into the dark ether, and as your last memories of the yesterworld fade away, you wonder what choices you would have made if you had been openly aware of this Truth moons ago.