“This is… it, isn’t it? I mean, this is all there is or will be for me, us, all of us. I grew up thinking that there was a purpose, you know, that there was a reason we were all created but that’s not true, at least I don’t think it is. Do you want to know what I think? I think this, all of this, was barely even a mistake. Our lives are all contingent. We and every human who has ever walked this earth may not have been here if not for tiny little shifts in time and space.

“That’s it, that’s all for me, I think we’re all just lucky, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t think life at the beginning was a gift, you know. Saying it’s a gift almost implies a giver and a purpose, and I don’t believe there was either. Balls of gas collided, heated and our rock, our planet was formed. We crawled through years of evolution and by nothing but pure chance, we gained sentience. We’re not special! Look at it, stare up that stars, does that look like a universe that cares? Oh, God, we’re all just floating around living our small tiny lives thinking that we’re somehow significant in the grand scheme of things but that’s the kicker, we’re not significant, and there is no grand scheme of things. This is a universe that’s just that; a universe. It doesn’t worry about us. There are no gods to save us, no angels, no demons, it’s just us. It has always been that. Just, us.

“Have you ever looked at the ants as they crawl and go on about their busy lives? They’re so tiny, so insignificant, yet they go with such purpose, such conviction. That’s how I think we’d look to a higher species if they ever found us on Earth. Maybe they’ve actually visited before and saw us all as nothing but tiny ants, bumbling about. But the fact that there is no purpose is kinda freeing, I guess. Now, life is like play dough, we can mould it however we want. Because, the rules we’ve made, gender roles, social norms and all that bullshit is just in our heads, it’s not real! It’s all just made up. Like you, even you’re made up, this is all just a…coping mechanism! Yeah, a coping mechanism. What’s real is what we make it, I guess, I don’t know, I don’t know. Does that make any sense to you?”

Life takes a sip from her tea, the steam floating softly in front of her kind face. Her eyes glittering as she looks at me. “Well,” she says finally, her voice easy with a certain edge. “I guess it’s time for another conversation.”

Anthony Azekwoh is a Nigerian-based author and artist. He has written five books so far, and is now working on the sequel to his fourth book Ṣàngó, Oya.

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