“At this point, I’m willing to believe anything,” I sighed dejectedly.
“I was nearing the end of my second go-round at that point,” the boy said. “At the time, I was thinking that two lifetimes were plenty, but then I met you, heard your story, and decided that I needed to meet with you again.”
“So…you’ve been, uh, reincarnating?”
“Not exactly. With reincarnation, a living being’s soul is reborn into another physical body after the death of the previous body. In my case, I’ve just been going back in time to the same body over and over and making improvements each time around.”
“It’s like Groundhog’s Day,” I murmured after a period of quiet contemplation.
“The movie, Groundhog’s Day,” I elaborated. “You know, where Bill Murray keeps reliving the same day over and over until he gets it right.”
“That’s it!” the boy genius beamed. “That’s precisely what this is, except that you are reliving your whole life.”
“And accumulating knowledge with every life lived.”
“And that’s how one becomes a genius.”
Neither of us spoke after that, the boy waiting patiently while I processed all he had said.
“So,” I said finally, “geniuses are ordinary people who are provided with an extraordinary amount of time.”
“I have a few questions…”
“Only a few?” the boy grinned.
“Well,” I replied with my own small grin, “we’ll see.”
“What’s your first question?”
“How many people know about this…uh, gift?”
“More than you would think. In fact, you may have run across a number of them in your lifetime without even knowing it, excluding me, of course.”
“How is that possible?” I asked shaking my head. “How could I not notice someone who is evolving into a genius?”
“Because evolution is a gradual process. We all have to start at the beginning and slowly work our way up to the genius level, lifetime by lifetime. I’m sure you have encountered many people who were highly intelligent, but not exactly Einsteins—and speaking of Einstein, there’s a story to be told there, but I digress. Anyway, those intelligent people were probably only on their second lifetimes. It’s usually those who have lived three or more lifetimes that attract attention. I’m living proof; nine years into my third life and I’m hailed as the boy genius. Who knows where I’ll be if I go for four.”
“Are you going for four?”
The boy sighed.
“I don’t know. To be honest, reliving your life gets a little old after a while. In fact, most people in my position only live their lives twice, and then…they go the way of all the earth.”
“So…you have a choice as to how long you live?”
“You get a choice on how many times you live. As far as how long each life lasts, that’s out of your hands. I lived until 68 during my first life, 75 on my second.”
“How did you…I mean, did you actually…have you actually…died?”
“Oh, yes. The first time was a heart attack…too much stress at the office, I suppose. I should have listened to my doctor about that. I died in my sleep the second time around; very peaceful.”
“And then what happens?”
“I wake up and find myself a kid again.”
“And at any point, you can decide to stop repeating your life?”
“Yes. As in my case, I was set on finishing up my second life…that is, until I met you.”