Numbered

They only have 100 days left. They don’t have time to fall in love.

NOELLE

I’ve known the date of my death since I was young. Everyone does. My expiration would be a heart attack at the age of 32, I was told. It was smack dab in the middle of everything, and made it impossible to actually live my life. I mean, how do you live when it’s not long enough to mean something? How do you say goodbye when it’s time?

So I did what I had to do, and that was to avoid anything that would make me fear the end. Close friendships. Children. Love. I don’t even have family since they expired years ago. The closest bond I had was a goldfish. It hurt to say goodbye to that damn fish.

Now I’m here, waiting out my last three months at River’s End – a facility for the dying. I thought I was ready for this. I thought I had nothing left to tie me to this life.

That changed when I met him.

RYDER

I was already dying years before I came here. Terminal lung cancer – a surprise since I had no symptoms at all. I swam every day, and ran cross country for the track team. My lungs felt like they were made of steel, and yet, supposedly they were failing me.

The doctors put me on a cocktail of medications, but I only got worse. I constantly felt short of breath, my lips taking on a bluish tint as I fought for oxygen. It wasn’t until I met my new doctor when my condition finally improved. He weaned me off the drugs and I was back to my normal self.

Cancer doesn’t just go away without medication, right?

I’ve always been skeptical of the numbers. I mean, how can a machine predict my lifespan? And now that I’m at River’s End, it’s almost over.

I was never ready to die. But then I met her and everything changed.

Why are we meeting now? I need more time, and I need it with her.

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