I’m immortal. That’s my talent. It’s supposed to be awesome, but you know. It’s whatever.
I can’t tell people about it. It always sounds conceited, and no one believes me anyway. People have this whole system worked out that keeps anyone from getting killed on a regular basis; it’s pretty hard to demonstrate. If you pull a knife out and try to cut yourself, people get concerned and don’t let you do it. And I know in 20, 30, years when I still look good the friends that I have now will know something’s up. But 20, 30 years is way longer than most people stay friends. People end up going off and starting families, and then if you go to visit they remember you different. They’ll say anything to explain, like maybe you had plastic surgery or you were always a few decades younger, or maybe you’re your own daughter playing pranks and just the spitting image of yourself.
So it doesn’t come up all the time and I don’t always think about how different I am. But I do have this thing where death doesn’t scare me. I think that leads me to do a lot of things other people think are stupid. Driving drunk, shooting up, dating guys who say, “Shut your cunt mouth before I shut it for you!”
I get bored. Once you’ve learned that you won’t die, a lot of things that are supposed to be exciting or deep don’t work on you. Video games aren’t anything but exercises in spatial reasoning, no matter how bright the pixels or how loud the bangs. Movies and books and songs about the frailty of life are just, like, meh. I know the people who love me now won’t be here forever. I know this, and it’s there even when I find someone new to like and invest in. I’ve seen it all and felt it all – I know that what comes will go.
So I’m stupid. It suits me. I’ll fall in love hard and not care there’s always grief to pay. Broken hearts don’t kill, but people scared of death act like they do, and get afraid to have real feelings. My body heals – I always just expect my heart to do the same. And it does. Course I don’t know, ‘cause I’ve never met someone like me. But my guess is that people who can heal are all very stupid. Pain is a static in the background you’re never going to learn from.
Don’t go thinking nothing hurts me, cause it does. If you break my arm, it won’t work for a couple of days, maybe. Also, it’s not something that just happens for me. I have to go and be in a quiet place and focus on getting better, for a serious wound, or it’s just going to heal at the same rate as anyone else. Sometimes it’s easier and sometimes it’s harder. I don’t know what the difference is. A few times as a burger-flipper I lost fingers doing knife tricks and was able to pop out new digits before the managers even noticed. Nobody thought to blame me, the girl with all her fingers, when this angry mama found a pinky in her fries. Meanwhile there’s a scar running from the back of my head all the way down to my asscrack that burns in the rain and won’t go away. I’ve spent more years than I can count trying to smooth out that bitch.
Really, with a power like mine, I’m not much use in the face of villains or weapons or disasters. I’m not scared enough of death to even be good at fighting on account of adrenaline. I’m not fast or strong or smart about it. Literally all I have is this ability to keep being here. It’s not impressive when you put it that way. Everyone can be here. But I can be here over and over again, longer than anyone would keep track of or notice.
I’ve been alive as long as I can remember. I don’t know where I’m from or how come I’m immortal. I’ve let them try to figure it out in laboratories before, but people aren’t as smart as they think. They poke you and stab you and do things but at the end of the day they get old and those files get forgotten. It’s the same thing as jail. One day the walls they build so hard aren’t good enough, and they don’t know who you are or why you’re there, and the guards get old and let you go. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It’s work to hold a grudge that long.
Every now and then some new technology comes along that does impress me, and I’ll go to see a scientist about my condition. I don’t just come right out with it at first; I’ve got to introduce them to my weirdness bit by bit. Then I say, hey, I can live forever. Let’s figure out why. I’m always so optimistic when it starts. That’s why I’ve spent the last however many years living in a hospital.
Finally, recently, I got bored of it. The main scientist I had investigating me died. We’d known each other a long time, while all the other ones had died off one by one. The younger scientists weren’t as thrilled in me. I don’t react to experiments all that differently from other people, and it’s hard for me to focus on healing fast when everybody’s watching. So I quit. I expected that to be that. But there was this crew of young new scientists who I guess were more interested in me than I thought – three of them. These kids started tracking me down, wherever I went, wherever I tried to find a job. They tried to talk me into going back to the hospital to experiment. I said no. Then one day they got tired of persuasion and actually all ganged up on me and tried to take me in.
I was at a mall. I ducked and ran down through the food court, into the old arcade. Somehow I wound up playing Dance Dance Revolution, and the scientists ran past me and left.
“Tom,” said a guy, holding out his hand. Then I realized it was the guy who was next to me the whole time, playing DDR.
“Invisibility,” he muttered, leaning forward like was a pass code. “They’re after me, too.”