Everyone knew Rule Number 1.
A soft evening light had curled along the back of the sofa. Adam caught at it with his fingers,‘Don’t play the innocent child with me, you know damn well that avoiding the bad things is all we care about.’
‘So why do I still feel like I’m failing some kind of test?’
‘It’s always that way with belief,’ the older man turned away, gathering his things, ‘once you get that, it’s easy.’
‘And you expect me to accept that this life is the culmination of hundreds… no thousands,’ he almost laughed, ‘possibly millions of lives, that I’ve lived before?’
‘Sure, why not.’
‘So it IS some kind of test then?’
Adam knocked the words back with his finger, ‘How many times do I have to say this? One, ten, a thousand… even a million, would make no difference. Each life is a new beginning. The first is always the last, and the last is always the first.’
His companion looked genuinely worried, ‘That’s why there’s no memory?’
Adam smiled like there was nothing remotely weird about what he was saying, ‘Absolutely. And because there’s no memory, there’s no test. You can’t fail at being you, because you’ve never been ‘You’ before.’
‘Okay…’ the younger man wrapped his mouth awkwardly around the words, ‘but if there’s never been any memory, and there’s never been a ‘Me’ before… not for any of us, then logically, there can be no witnesses either?’
‘Yes, that’s right,’ Adam absentmindedly checked his phone.
‘So, if there are no witnesses, then how come you know so much about it?’
And a silence, deep and dark, filled the space where forbidden words had been spoken.
EVERYONE knew Rule Number 1.