Three hundred and forty-nine.
An insignificant number etched onto the deep recesses of his mind suddenly resurfaced all too unexpectedly, showing itself in front of the man standing before the stark white background of an empty room.
Clueless, the man who only remembered that he once lived and eventually died, eyed the wooden table, the only table with color, right on the very middle. On top, two untouched white cups of tea. Those objects accompanied a small, long-haired child sitting on the camouflaged white chair across his direction.
“Please sit down,” her surprisingly low-pitched voice croaked. “I am alone.”
He didn’t feel alone. Her presence only confused him further. He sat down on the empty chair, and stared down at his reflection on the warm tea. He had none.
He started interrogating. “Who are you? Who am I? Where is this?” he stared at the brown, unreflective eyes of the child. “I only remember living…and dying.”
She momentarily moved her gaze from his eyes and picked up the cup of tea laid in front of her, but she did not take a sip. “I am,” she said, “just somebody.”
The cup of tea waited to be drank. It expected to touch the lips of the child holding its gaze to its ceramic finish. But the cup of tea did not get what it wanted.
She set the cup of tea back down the wooden table. She marked her fingerprints, but not her satisfaction. It continued waiting.
“I remember everything about myself,” she said.
He couldn’t avert his gaze to the spirit of the child.
“I was a fool,” she said. “I thought that you could only live once. I spent my youth partying. I didn’t care for a thing in the world.”
She paused. He waited. So bizarre this child was. So mature, yet so youthful. A strange calm wafted through the atmosphere around him. She gazed at him with regret.
“I attended college, but I didn’t make use of it. I continued doing the things that would only satisfy me. I waited for life to hand me itself on a silver platter.”
He touched his cup of tea. It was still warm. He took a sip - it was as sweet as the honey-like aroma it emanated. He continued sipping until he realized that it ran out. The cup of tea ended its life on a high note. Soon, it would be refilled again.
“You saw a number, didn’t you?” she tilted her head. “Mine was two.”
He glanced at her cup of tea. The smoke stopped radiating from the tea. He reached his hand out to touch its exterior - cold, very cold.
“You are a very lucky person.”
The man touched his empty cup of tea again. In an instant, it refilled itself with the same sweet aroma that tasted like what his greatest day would have been.
“I made nothing of myself,”
His eyes felt heavy. His vision blurred. The stark white slowly hid itself like a curtain call. And then, the darkness -
“And you, you’ve always been the success they wanted you to be.”
“We won’t be seeing each other again.”
Three hundred and fifty.