Author : John Raymond Wilson

My mother was hesitant because of the burden it would put on my wife and I. She didn’t want to be a bother. But she also didn’t want to die, so when she relented and asked us if we would take care of her while she was an infant, we were prepared. We knew she would make the same decision as my dad and my wife’s parents. She decided to eat the jellyfish and live forever.

A century ago, a scientist discovered a jellyfish that didn’t die. It aged backwards, returned to a polyp state, was reborn, and repeated the process. The scientist spent the better part of his life, fortune, and other people’s fortunes trying to find the secret of the jellyfish. When his dog got smaller and cuter and generally friskier, the scientist suspected that the dog had eaten one of the jellyfish and somehow metabolized it. To this day, the dog has lived ten lives.

So my Mom ate the jellyfish and decided to live forever. For her, the process of reversal started when she was eighty four and I was fifty. The physical changes were astonishing. She hadn’t walked in years and now she was exercising every day. We were briefly the same age at sixty seven. Having a mother who was younger than me was odd. My reversal started at eighty three, so she was thirty three the next time I was sixty seven. We were both the same age again at seventeen.

The tragedy hit each family the same way. My wife and I spent our second forties and thirties taking care of our parents who were now toddlers and infants. It was when the oldest parent regenerated and was around three when we realized that memories didn’t survive the reversal process. When the aging process reached the moment of conception, all memory was wiped clean. We had the bodies of young adults, the wisdom of one hundred and thirty years, and four helpless children who thought of us as their parents. And every day they got older, we got younger. They did not remember each other and thought they were brothers and sisters, not lifelong partners. Their genes would live forever, but their former lives were effectively over.

My regenerated mother and regenerated father looked exactly like their former selves, but they thought and acted differently. They thought of themselves as siblings and that it would be taboo to be together romantically. We showed them pictures of when they had been together in their past lives, but it was as if they were looking at strangers. We showed them pictures from the day they met. It was one hundred and sixty six years ago. They both fell in love with other people and have started their own families of children who are technically my step-siblings.

My wife and I enjoyed our second childhoods. It might have even been the best part of our lives, but there was still a sadness looming over us. We thought we had been promised more than individual immortality. We had been promised that nothing would change. We had been promised that we would have eternity together. It was okay to think that one day we would die because we could be together in the next life. But now there was no eternity together. Now eternity is a cycle of lives, growing old and young and old again over and over forever. No relationship can last the reversal process. Two lifetimes is not enough. Eternity took forever away from us.

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