“Julie! You forgot your watch again,” my mother called from the bathroom.
“It’s not like anything has changed,” I mumbled as I walked down the hall, “I have 28 days left. I will die a four days after graduation. All that work for nothing if you ask me.”
My mom smiled as I reached the bathroom door. It was weird how easily they all accepted death. Surely that wasn’t normal. It didn’t matter if we knew the exact date of our death, it still wigged me out. I was glad I would die before that would become common place. Although, I guess if you’ve known since your child was born she would die shortly after her eighteenth birthday you had time to cope. Most people had watches that started with days anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000. Not me, I was one of the special outliers. I had been born with a mere 6600. Most people were excited about their eighteenth birthday. Not me, that was just another milestone that ticked closer my death. Tomorrow I’d get that tick, then a few weeks after that graduation would be another. Then I’d have my final days and into the ground I go. So happy.
“Thanks mom,” I tried to lift my voice, to make it match her mood, but per usual I failed. I was not embracing my death as I should. Instead of being angry and annoyed I should be enjoying what time I had left with people, but that ship had sailed. I put the offensive wristwatch on and out of habit checked it. Yup, 28 days left. Of course it didn’t tell me the hours/minutes/seconds, but maybe that was for the best. I was habitually late, I would hate to be late for my death too.
The day passed in the usual way. I went to school, attended class, had lunch with my friends, watched as they laughed one of their 20,000+ days away while I could only muster an occasional smile. They were all excitedly discussing their plans for university. My friend Rachel had somehow snagged a studio apartment in New York so she could officially accept an internship with a fashion designer. Kimberly would be taking a year or two to participate in the peace corp before heading to school for teaching. I, mean while, was mentally finalizing my memorial music. Different people. The afternoon classes passed quickly, I went to track practice, we had one more meet before regionals. Then I went home, ate a late supper with my brother Mark who had had piano lessons tonight, and rounded out the evening by finishing an essay for senior composition.
I was just logging on to the school website when I checked my watch for the millionth time that day. It was 11:55 and it still read 28 days. Running spell check and reading through the essay one last time I gave it a final save and submitted it. It didn’t really matter if I got a bad grade on it but I wanted to do well. Oddly enough my writing had picked up ever since I put two and two together, that this was my last year. As a kid we didn’t really look at our watches very much. I didn’t realize how weird it was for me to have so little time on mine. It first hit me that I didn’t have the same amount as others when i was in fourth grade. My brother was born that year so naturally I got to see his watch. Even as a baby his time was loaded.
After that day I started noticing, gradually, how much time other students had. My mother told me not to worry about it, that things would work out the way they were meant to. It wasn’t sophomore year, when my number was near 1000, that I actually counted it all out. I realized I wouldn’t even make it to college. I thought I might get one semester in, if I was lucky, but no dice. That’s when my writing erupted. I realized that I wouldn’t get to live all that I should, but I could do the next best thing. I could write about it and evoke those feelings. My teacher noticed what I was doing and encouraged me to go further, try harder, push myself and my imagination as far as they could reach and then one step further. After pouring my mind into all these false memories for so long, all it’s done is make me more sad that I’ll never live them. Perhaps that’s why I can’t accept my death. Not that it matters. I can’t not give my all at school, especially on my silly little compositions.
Because I was a glutton for punishment I looked at my watch again. 12:30 with 28 days to go. At first I didn’t notice the error. I logged out of the website, saved my work one last time, and shut the computer down. Then it hit me. It was 12:30. It was my birthday. I couldn’t still have 28 days. I should only have 27. I looked at the watch to confirm it. 28. The number shone like a beacon. Something was wrong, watches didn’t stop. This had to be a cruel trick. I got ready for bed, taking longer than was necessary. I read a little bit before checking again. 1:15 am with 28 days left. Something was wrong. Fate was toying with me, but I couldn’t help but feel a small degree of hope. Perhaps I would get more time after all. Maybe a few days of summer. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I went to bed and slept better than I had for years.
Found via Reddit.
Prompt: Everyone in the world wears a wristwatch that shows how much time they have to live. One day, your watch stops.