As I walk along the Edinburgh streets on my way to the university for an interview, I can not help myself from feeling a little bit lonely. It always happens, that pang of loneliness accompanied by the anguished thoughts of 'eternity', at the start of every new Life. I should definitely be used to it by now. But that part of the human psyche, that holds happiness, loneliness and such like, can not be controlled by the power of the mind. I am definitely used to that.
Plato used to tell me in a stern voice that 'knowledge comes from within!', fully convinced there was no such thing as learning. Every single day he used to sit by the north edge of the marketplace and talk to whomever cared to listen. As soon as he saw me walking across the square he used to change whatever story he was telling at the time to one that focused around the 'divine recollection', as he called it. 'All knowledge in the world is already within us all. All we need to do is remember it!'. Personally I knew he was just lazy. He definitely thought it was too much of a hassle to investigate animal anatomy or stay up late to look at the stars, like I insisted on doing, and was content with quiet reflection, whilst sitting on a rock by the marketplace. I often laugh to myself at the memory. I am not sure why I was so energetic back then. Those could have been my relaxing years..
Edinburgh is definitely colder than I thought. With all new technology, and especially the bane of the obligatory social media profile, I have had to move further away with every change of Life. The hiding is becoming a little bit tedious. My last house was in an excellent area of Perth, Australia. A little bit isolated perhaps, but perfect for a few decades of quiet reflection in a tempered climate. No wonder Edinburgh feels a bit cold!
The best weather I have ever had was during my time in Galilee. Those were warm and sunny years for sure. I remember arriving there with such clarity. Which is somewhat strange judging by the manner of my arrival - Seasick and hungover like a donkey.. I had recently spent a few decades on a freight ship, transporting goods between Egypt and the North, and the hard life of the seas had taken its toll. Especially the mead and the fig wine.. I felt it was time for a quiet Life, focused on forgiveness and kindness. Perhaps I would get a chance to take up some of my old teachings? And perhaps take a few students of my own again? I could never have imagined what a violent end such a quiet Life would bring..
The physical scars are almost completely healed, and as I look down on my wrists I can only see some very faint marks. I suddenly realise my reverie has made me slow down my pace, so I decide to get on a tram to make sure I make it to Edinburgh University on time. I am slowly getting excited about this interview! Chemistry was always a favourite.
I remember one of the first times I meddled in actual chemistry. I had spent a few Lives earlier with the notion that I would at some point be able to make gold out of lead. A preposterous idea, that I am not particularly proud of. But it was during my time in high French society that I first realised how fascinating chemistry could be! I remember the stress of the French revolution, and how it spurred me on in my investigations. The joys of identifying the building blocks of water will always be one of my proudest moments.
These trams are really slow! I am starting to get annoyed at the traffic. It doesn't matter how many Lives you have lived, you will never get used to commuting. I look down at my trousers and realise a dog has drooled all down my left leg. By slowing my breath down and closing my eyes I try to calm down.
It is a little bit ironic that I should be such a stressed man. After all, it was only one Life ago that I came up with my theory of relativity. That was a good Life. I had felt the need to explain my own immortality for many centuries, but never come up with a good enough theory. The fact that time is relative is the only one that so far satisfies me. I am, somehow, travelling along a different timeline, relative to others. A parallel, but different, path.
The tram has finally reached its destination and I enter the old chemistry department at a run. I am only a few minutes late to the interview. As I enter the office, I see a very stern looking man behind a desk. As his eyes takes in my stressed appearance, dog drool and all, I realise he has already made up his mind.
- I am sorry sir, but I don't think you have the right type of experience for a position here at Edinburgh University.