Or Not To Be
Anna Wixim is dead.
When somebody dies they don’t come home anymore. This is the lie that Eddie told his little son on the day his wife died. Still, four-year-old Joey waits for his mom to come home. He waits with a pack of Oreos, hiding under his bed.
After a quarter of a century, ten million minutes breathing the same air and sharing the same thoughts, it’s easy to stop communicating and take your closest friend, your other half, for granted, thinking that they will always be there. In OR NOT TO BE, Eddie struggled to love his wife while he knew she would die. He even knew when she would die. Eddie knew his wife’s deathday.
And he knew she could choose to come back to life.
On the molecular level, classical laws of physics like gravity, the need for a force to cause motion, and even inertia all fail. At the speed of light, the concept of time also changes. It can warp, stop, and wrap back around on itself. Anna knew all of this. She’d studied it and taught it in her life. In her death, she delves deeper and discovers that, beyond the atoms of our lives, after death there is only antimatter—the soul. Freed from the burden of her atoms, Anna’s soul travels at light speed and knows no time. She watches her family grieve and relives random bits of her life until she is presented with an unfathomable choice: Anna may choose to remain dead or return to the instant that her antimatter separated from her matter. She could go back to the man she loved who didn’t want her back.
Told in two voices with a cushion of humor to ease the pain, OR NOT TO BE is a love story for the world’s thinkers, doubters, and geeks. Anna and Eddie struggle to reunite, relying upon the same ineffective communication that doomed their married life. By dying, Anna left Eddie, exactly as she might have done had she lived and naively believes she has escaped this difficult choice.
Ultimately, Eddie decides for her.
First 150 words:
The room smells like Oreos. The only sound is snoring and it comes from under the bed.
Of course, he is under the bed as usual. Whenever he was sad or scared, I told Joey to go there and I would always find him and protect him. Apparently, always is over because I can’t get to him now.
Joey wakes, rubbing his eyes. He reaches into the cookie wrapper and pops one into his mouth. My boy is stubborn. He won’t cry. He’ll wait for me under that bed. Indefinitely. Or until the cookies run out.
Yesterday morning Mommy got mad at Daddy. This morning only Daddy is here and he’s hiding downstairs. Not hiding like me, under the bed. But he’s not really home either. Mommy never came home last night. She must be really mad about the Oreos.
I know he is thinking about yesterday morning and breakfast.