I Can't Say Goodbye, page 1
I CAN’T SAY GOODBYE
Copyright 2015 Nobo13
I Can’t Say Goodbye
As a kid, I never said ‘goodbye.’ No one taught me how. I’ve heard long ago, during a war, children were evacuated from their parents to a safer location. These children suffered some trauma, and as such, never say ‘goodbye.’
When I think about that, I think I’m the same. I can’t bring myself to say it. I can’t tell someone ‘goodbye.’ But I met someone once, they told me to say ‘au revoir’ instead. It means ‘until we see each other again.’
It isn’t an easy job, but it pays the bills. Sometimes it feels like I never leave the place but I get to meet different people every day. I get asked a lot of questions, like ‘do you believe they’re still alive?’ or ‘doesn’t it scare you?’
To be honest, I never thought about it like that. I never cared. All I knew was I cleaned the machines, and made sure they stayed on.
You’d get old couples, bringing in their kids to ‘greet’ their grandparents. Or maybe you’ll have a widower, who came to talk about their day. Sometimes you’ll have the odd person who’ll just say hello, leave some flowers and go.
‘Why?’ I wondered. As hard as it could be, why do they continue? I used to chat with visitors you know, about what they saw.
‘Do you think he can hear me?’ one lady asked me once
‘I’m sure he can’ I smiled back not really believing my own words
‘Oh, I sure hope he can’ she smiled back in the same way
Why? I’m sure no one truly believed this sham, so why play along with it? And that’s when I met him.
‘This? It’s a computer, no?’ he frowned
‘I meant who is it?’ I asked again
‘No one. There’s absolutely no one here. I don’t care about all the nonsense you sprout, but there’s no one here at all, you know. It’s just a machine’
I kind of just stared back at him, half smiling, and half in shock. It wasn’t like he was a cold person. He seemed like the sort of person who’d go out his way for someone, but right now, he was the one who made the most sense.
Out of all the visitors who came to ‘see’ this loved ones, he was the only one who came for no reason at all. He didn’t believe in the technology. He didn’t believe it at all, that the human mind could be loaded into a hard drive. He didn’t believe it at all, yet he still came everyday.
‘Yo,’ I greeted him, ‘Back again, I see’
‘Yep,’ he nodded without looking at me, ‘Business as usual’
‘So what happened today?’
‘Nothing. Just the usual. Busy day at work, and now nothing. I should probably get tomorrow’s lessons ready, but I can’t be bothered… at least not yet’
‘You should really sort that out, you know. That’s why you have late nights’
‘I don’t mind. If it’s for someone else, I can do anything’
I smiled. I think that’s why I liked him. I kind of wished I had him as a teacher growing up. He seemed so dedicated that it made me slightly jealous. But at the same time I wondered, this person seemed like he had his dream job, yet he came here everyday. Why?
‘You know,’ I asked, ‘I can check the logs to see if they’re still functioning? Maybe they’re dreaming something nice right now? I just need their name’
‘No,’ he suddenly saddened, ‘I think I should go now… got a lot to do for tomorrow’
‘R-right… Au revoir’
I’m not sure why, but I felt a little hurt. Not because he’d done something to me, but because I probably hurt him in some way. I probably reminded him about the person he lost. I wondered. Why? How can such a person keep visiting a grave that he knew was empty.
The next day he came looking slightly happier. I didn’t approach him but it seemed like he was in a good mood. I watched on as other visitors were crying or just talking like normal. I kept thinking, what if it was true. What if all these little boxes of chips and circuits really were empty. What if they really were just machines. It scared me a little, so I kept washing and cleaning mindlessly. I thought to myself, when was the last time I went away? This job just sucks the life out of you. Besides talking with the visitors, I had very little in my life.
‘Hey,’ I spoke to him, ‘What’s new?’
‘Nothing,’ he smiled briefly, ‘Same old. Busy day. Haven’t got my lesson done for tomorrow. Can’t be bother yet’
‘That’s why you have late nights’ I laughed
‘Yep. I’d probably throw in the towel if it was for me, but doing it for someone else, I think I could do about anything’
I smiled and admired him for a bit. I sort of understood what he meant. I couldn’t really do anything for myself, but if it’s for someone else, I think I could do it. No, even if I couldn’t, I’d find a way to. It made me wonder why I never found anyone to help. Maybe then, I could have been a bit more like him. Rather than stuck in this dead end job.
‘Well, it’s time I went’
‘Right, au revoir’
Days came and went like that really. I found some comfort in meeting him each day. I enjoyed the time we had.
‘Hey,’ I called ‘Back again, I see’
‘Yeah…’ he said under his breath
‘What happened today?’
‘Today? Well, today’s the day she died…’
‘Oh…,’ I suddenly realised, ‘I’m… I’m sorry’
‘I’m sure she’s listening to you right now’
‘Don’t… I know she’s gone. There’s nothing here but metal and wires. She’s forever gone, you know?’
‘… Can I ask, why do you keep coming? You know, if you don’t believe she’s here’
‘Hmm…’ he smiled for a moment before facing me for the first time, ‘You know. She had real problems saying goodbye. I do too actually. That’s probably why I’m here… did you know, the human mind is a fragile thing. But not as fragile as the heart. Do you know how they upload minds?’
‘No’ I replied
‘It’s to do with backups,’ he pointed to the chip on his neck, ‘You see, everyone’s data is backed up on a set schedule. For some though, they’re not backed up as often. Maybe for personal reasons, maybe because of errors, so do you know what that means?’
‘No’ I shook my head
‘It means that just because your mind is uploaded, it doesn’t mean it’s the most recent version. I could die today, but maybe it’ll be the me from last week that’s uploaded. That means I’ll have no memories of this week, no memories of this moment right now’
‘That’s… that’s so cruel’ I felt my eyes water a bit
‘I know… Did I ever tell you. I fell in love with this person, this woman stored inside this hard drive. I fell completely head over heels. I had a dream recently, she had no legs, and was doing something that would lead to her demise, I tried to stop her but she said she wouldn’t back down. So I replied, ‘I won’t leave you.’ That’s how I feel about her. I won’t leave her’
I didn’t know why, but my tears felt extremely heavy. As if they were filled with emotion. So heavy yet so small.
‘I really love her,’ he continued, ‘And I can’t stop thinking about her. I’m so scared, because right now, the woman in this machine isn’t the same woman I know. She has no memories of me. She hasn’t fallen in love with me. So, the person I know is dead. And right here, there’s someone in her place… someone I can’t say goodbye to. We had a saying you know… We don’t say goodbye…’
‘…we say au revoir’ I said
I looked up as I soon realised. I never had a job here, did I? I
I looked at him as he placed his hand on mine to comfort the shock I was feeling.
‘Can… can I ask what her name is?’ I said scared
He nodded with tears rolling down his cheeks before saying my name.
About the author
“Thank you for reading. I haven’t said goodbye for a while now. I think I have abandonment issues, so I’ve always found it hard to say goodbye. Which is why, right now, I’m feeling somewhat down. I’ve got to say goodbye to some people, but how can I possible do it?
The dream at the end was actually one of my dreams. And it gave birth to this story in some way.”
For those who are tragically obsessed, Nobo13 was born 1987 in Cambridgeshire. He spent four years doing a Physics degree but spend most of the time doodling and writing. Currently he is somewhat of a teacher.
Nobo13’s pen name is derived from using his surname, just look above! His more unusual hobbies are collecting headphones, yoyos, staring aimlessly out the window (which consumes much of his time) and messing about with musical instruments- at the moment these are ocarinas and ukuleles.
Please check out my website and my other works, thanks for reading!
More from this author
Please check out the following links:
The Man in the Desert:
Lost in the Painting
Fixing Broken Promises
The Empty Necklace
Time left over
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Connect with me online
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Other author's books:
- By Candle Or Lamp LightA Date with the Hand of GodThe Opposite Side Of The RoadLost in the PaintingI Can't Say GoodbyeFinding Words for LoveA Tavern In The DarkThe Other Half
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