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How to Live Forever

Julie stared at the small vial in her hand. She watched the sun glint off the liquid inside and thought of diamonds. She handed it back to her husband and saw a gleam of achievement in his eyes. He’d never looked prouder than he did today, not even on the day their son was born.

“But does it work?” Julie didn’t want to doubt his claim, but she had always been a realist. Andy was always coming up with crazy schemes – most of which never worked as intended. There was never a dull moment with him in her life. It’s why she had married him.

“It worked on the flowers.” Andy shrugged as if that was all the answer necessary.

“Andy…” Her tone was a warning of the one rule they had agreed upon when it came to his experiments – no human testing without the required research.

“I know, but –”

“No ‘but’. We made the rules for a reason.” Julie reminded him and agony of that memory painted itself on his face.

“Please, Julie. Don’t make me have to go through that again.” He gripped her hand, the vial pressed tightly between their palms. It dug into her, a reminder of the potential that lay within it. She wanted to believe, she wanted to throw caution to the wind. There was little left for her to lose besides her life, and even that was slowly being taken from her.

“I…” She had no good arguments. They’d stood side by side and watched this same disease take away their son. His attempt to save Zac had only accelerated the disease. So much precious time lost. It hurt her to think of it. She’d made him promise then ‘never again’. She used her free hand to wipe the tears that betrayed her resolve.

“Julie, if I fucked it up this time then neither of us will suffer. You don’t have enough time left for me to go through all the proper steps to make sure it’s perfect. Don’t you think that it’s worth the chance? If it works…” He pleaded desperately with her, not bothering to finish that last sentence. He’d already laid it all out for her earlier.

“Forever is a long time.” She whispered.

He smiled wanly. “If I’m with you, forever won’t be long enough.”

Such a romantic, he always had been. Any other time it would have made her smile, this time it only brought more tears. She wanted to say yes, but there were too many unanswered questions, too many things that could go wrong. “I don’t know what to do.”

“Say yes.” He squeezed her hand tighter and, for a second, she thought the vial might break. If that happened, there would be no chance for her to change her mind.

“Yes,” she said and squeezed back. Crack. No chance to take it back now, the liquid had been released.

“We’ll be stars,” he whispered as her skin began to tingle. She stared at where their hands joined. They blurred together as the tingling spread up her arm, a gentle glow – diamonds she thought again – flowed from them as hands became nothing more than stardust. Mingling, spreading.

Her arm disappeared and she looked at Andy. He was grinning at her as his face, his smile disappeared, but she could remember them – see them in her mind. Did she have a mind? She didn’t know. Everything disappeared, but she somehow could tell that Andy was still with her.

Forever. Together forever, just as he had promised. Her, him, and the stardust.

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