Not Anywhere

“Maybe I can find you in a parallel story.”

There once was a man who loved a woman very much. So much, in fact, that word of his love was caught by the four winds and reached the ears of the gods and goddesses in their distant abode. Thrilled, they kept their eye on him as he courted her, watching the nuances of his every move, hanging on every word he spoke and thought about her. In the eons they had dwelled above planet Earth, they had never witnessed a love as raw, as sweet – sweet as, perhaps, the flavour of the first fruit. Particularly enthralled was the Goddess of Love. Forgoing sleep, she watched every dream the man imagined of his muse, smiling all the while.

You can imagine their disappointment when the woman rejected him. Crack. Unheard by the humans, it was a sound sharper than when the God of Earth first split the continents, louder than when the Goddess of Water poured the seas into their hollows. Even the God of Darkness averted his eyes as the man stared at the woman’s slowly-shrinking back with eyes that told no tales – they were empty voids. The gods walked away. He’ll get better, they said. He isn’t the first human to be heartbroken, they said. It’s part of human existence, they said. But the man didn’t get better. And as the Goddess of Love snuck glances at him, she came to understand that he was different from every human being who had come before.

So it was that the Goddess of Love visited the man and offered him her hand. Take it, she said, and you will be the first human to receive the power to travel through worlds. You will be able to live your parallel lives, one at a time, until you find the one where you and her end up happily ever after. Shaking with gratitude, the man took the goddess’ hand. And so the Goddess of Love died, her soul transformed into the power that now flowed through him. With it, he hopped into the next world.

But there was no fortune for him there, nor in the next, or the next, or the one after. There was one in which the woman loved him with a passion that matched his own, but she died young in a car accident. There was another in which they actually got married, but the day after the ceremony, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away within a year. Thousands of lives later, nothing had changed. And as the final realisation hit him, he fell to his knees and screamed his life out. The gods and goddesses who had been watching him since the beginning, and who had watched as he had opened up world after world, cried as they heard him. But there was nothing they could do. There was no happy ending, not for him.

Not anywhere.


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