Life. It’s pretty predictable, isn’t it? Most of us will grow up, marry, have children of our own, buy a house or two, and possibly divorce just to start the process all over again. We obsess over meaningless materialistic items, pick petty fights, and try to kid ourselves that this is what it is all about as we march toward the only thing guaranteed in life – death.
At least for the majority of us, death is a timely guarantee. A promise of a well earned eternal rest.
What I would give to have it back again.
I was twenty-one years old when I met her. I was at my home town’s county fair, enjoying the bad carnival food and going on far too many rides to count when I spotted a little stall, just hidden out of sight, but still asking to be seen. I saw it when I was on the Ferris wheel and instantly the name of the stall grabbed me – Gerty’s Good’s – with a skull in place of the ‘O’s’ on the sign. Intrigued, I made my way through the crowd to the stall, where a woman who introduced herself as Gerty greeted me. She looked to be about fifty in age, and she had a warmth to her I couldn’t quite put my finger on. She had a table laden with all kinds of hocus pocus on display– spells, potions and other items I had heard of, some I hadn’t. One item caught my eye. It was a small blue bottle and the hand-written label read ‘Life Eternal’. When I picked it up, the liquid inside the bottle seemed to glow an enticing blue. I was mesmerised.
Gerty instantly made a beeline for me when she saw me with the bottle.
“Oh, you are in luck my dear,” she beamed at me, “the potion likes you.”
I looked at her, puzzled, “Likes me?” I asked, “It’s liquid, how on earth could it like me?” With that, I laughed and put the glowing bottle down. A lady who had been pretending not to eavesdrop instantly picked it up and held it in her hands. Nothing. All she got was blue glass, with not even a hint of a glow. Her cheeks quickly flushing red with embarrassment, the lady put the bottle down and left the stall. Turning to me, Gerty smiled, “See? The potion likes you. It has chosen you.” With that, she grabbed the bottle off the table and placed it in my hands, the glass silently glimmering. I was confused. How could a potion choose me? It just didn’t make sense.
Seeing my confusion, Gerty continued, “This potion is the gift of eternal youth. It’s a powerful spell. Drink this and you shall never age”.
I stared at the woman selling me this ‘magic potion’ for a minute and laughed. After composing myself, I asked, “You seriously expect me to believe this? That I will never age if I drink this? Lady, I’m sorry, but you have got to be kidding me.”
With that, I put the bottle back on the table and looked down at my watch for the time, as I didn’t want to be out too late. Reaching for the drink I had left on the table whilst browsing Gerty’s stall, I absent-mindedly took a big sip. The taste hit me straight away – this was not the sweet lemonade I was drinking before; this was different. It had an overwhelming sour taste to it and when I took a proper look at the cup, I could see the liquid was glowing. Dropping it in horror, I turned to Gerty, who was now looking at me expectantly.
“What did you do? What did you put in my drink?” I demanded.
“I told you,” she shrugged, “the potion chose you.”