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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Two women in the future attempt to figure out sorting inner truths from outer marketing on a world where everything is for sale.

Submitted: June 11, 2018

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Submitted: June 11, 2018

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My name is Cheyenne, I met the most beautiful woman in the solar system on the planet Venus in the year 2365, and I am a long way from home.

I understand that leaves me a lot of explaining to do. Obviously she’s not the most objectively good looking gal that ever graced the gravity well of Venus. Gazing upon her will most assuredly not burn your eyes out and leave you gasping for the sweet grace of God to heal you. It is unlikely that, should she walk into the boardrooms of the conspiring corporate overlords, that her beauty would smite them and send their exploitative empires careening down through the clouds of Venus. I don’t expect that she will, any time soon, create some great awakening in the spirits of those that wander about Atlas’ dome. They will not tear out their credit chips and smash their augmented reality glasses on the ground, going out into the artificial blue skies and fake sun of Atlas and finally– for the first moment– feel purpose.

I don’t expect you to feel that way about her, but that’s how she felt to me.

All the same I can’t explain what it is that drove me to talk to her, what it is about her that made her crawl up into my mind and make a home like a parasite that learned how to love. All I knew about her was that the way she moved, the way she worked, the way she carried herself, was inexplicably authentic. It was like she was the first real thing I’d ever seen in my life.

I first spoke to her on August 23rd, year 2365 AD.

We were outside the domes on Venus that day, working with the robotic drones to maintain the atmospheric systems that keep the great city of Atlas filled with clean, breathable air. The drones did all the real work, of course, but the denizens of that city were not (and most likely would never be) comfortable with the idea of putting their lives in the hands of full automation. It just bothered them knowing that one day something could go wrong and there would be no human there to tell them whether or not to panic. Machines never panicked; no matter how competent they became, panicking always seemed inefficient.

But humans like panicking, so here I am.

It was my kind of work. Only the company of one or two other engineers to distract from the endless view of orange and red swirls in the atmosphere. It made me feel like a goddess, watching the birth of the universe while floating on its bubbling surface. The pockets of red and yellow gas danced with and into each other, eliminating themselves and creating something entirely new in each tapestry.

The people inside Atlas didn’t care as much for the view. They preferred the artificial simulation inside that essentially pretended to be just like Earth. But it wasn’t earth; it was a simulation, and that bothered me a lot more than the authentic view of Venus.

The most beautiful woman in the solar system is named Sophia, by the way. Sophia Darby, on this particular Tuesday we met, happened to be my co-technician trudging around the rafters and rails outside Atlas’ massive domes. I hadn’t seen much of her yet. The airlock had separate changing rooms, and once departed from them the human was replaced with the sponsored corporate drone.

We were working around the terraformers when we had our first real contact. The term “terraformer” here is shorthand for an Upper-Atmosphere Vacuation Compact– gas goes in, water and air come out. (I know terraforming as a concept encompasses a great deal of things beyond sucking gas, but I promise that we call them terraformers here so don’t write me.) Interestingly enough when these machines receive a blockage they stop for a moment, violently purge themselves of every atom of matter within them, and then keep going. None of them are designed to receive and safely transport human tissue, because the companies care more about efficiency than the safety of any particular individual.

So naturally when I saw this random stranger sticking her arms into the terraforming vent my first reaction was to scream. Only for a moment, for my employers had wisely known that there was no nearby tribe to alert with a loud vocal cue, and that if there was some kind of emergency their employee would need to personally perform the rescue or salvage depending on the skill applied to this task.

I stood there– my magnetic boots cranked up to the highest setting– desperately trying to call upon some mystical ancient strength that would enable my under-exercised body to beat out a terraformer in a tug of war long enough for my eye– flickering with the skill and dexterity of someone who had spent way too much time texting and browsing the internet in her youth– to issue the emergency shutoff command.

When I had won, the adrenaline wave that would have once been sated by tearing into animal flesh with teeth and nails had to settle with yelling at a stranger I had never spoken to before. No one saved the transcript, but the words “stupid”, “daft”, and “idiot” featured prominently in my enraged soliloquy. She just stood there, holding in her hand the thing she had thought worthy of staring in the face of death itself rescuing; a small droid, no larger than a cat, which had recently found itself afflicted with melted plastic rotary blades. For her part, the core where the programming lived was intact, and so the machine could be repaired if she so chose.

At the time it seemed obvious to me that a drone was not worth dying for.

I don’t think she thought much of me at first.

When I was done yelling, she went away with the droid nestled safely in her hand.

I heard her voice in a mutter through my headset.

“I don’t care if you get it.”

This first reaction pinned thoughts of her like needles into my brain. It was bizarre behavior, an override of survival instincts, typically reserved for the young of the species or a pet in the case of some people.

The next day we were assigned together again. Probably because we received high efficiency marks the day prior, which was probably because I furiously and cleanly crunched my numbers and pushed the machines to their limits in an attempt to make up lost time, and perhaps earn her forgiveness for my outburst. No idea if that worked, and I’ve since never really worked up to asking.

My curiosity about her only grew over time, and she was starting to occupy my thoughts outside of work, before I’d ever seen her face. I was beginning to question my own sanity, because developing this kind of obsession over someone I hadn’t seen felt like madness. It was something about the way she treated the AI, with a kind of tenderness that one might think they were animals or pets. It infected the way I treated them as well, until eventually I had begun to, in some part of my heart, think of those primitive artificial intelligences as some kind of friend.

I still didn’t talk to her again for several days.

In the following days I felt a pit in my stomach whenever I noticed I was paired with a different aeroengineer, and I felt that pit grow wings and fly out of my mouth the next day when my silent siren-technician was returned to me. This was getting ridiculous; I had to break this sheer blue silence between the two of us or at some point I would walk out of the changing room, straight off Atlas’ rafters, and plummet through the walls of the universe until my body was reduced to ash; until I was nothing more than a single atom of embarrassed lesbian waiting for the heat death of the universe to cleanse me of my sins.

When I finally did work up the nerve to strike up a conversation, I talked about work, because I’m a dummy. I pretended I needed help with something I could have easily just looked up on my AR, but I consider this moment a win.

“Hey, so uh…” I ventured, looking into the faceless black visor, “wanna… grab a drink?”

What are you doing? You don’t drink! You don’t even know where a bar is! My skin contracted and squeezed my soul out of my body like toothpaste. Yes, it felt that gross.

“Sure.” she replied.

It was my first time hearing her voice and it was nice. Deep, smooth, devoid of the artificial height most women spoke with.

I could feel her eyes on me, but I didn’t look back at her until we entered the changing rooms. I congratulated myself on how socialized and mannered I was.  

Then, when we left the room, I finally saw her face.

So, for context, everyone on Atlas is beautiful (except me). The science of medicine and biology have advanced to the point where you can pretty much have whatever body you want, as long as you have the resources to spend on the alterations. Everyone on Atlas has the resources. So, of course, everyone looks ridiculously beautiful. They also all look uncomfortably similar. Everyone picks a few unique traits to set them apart, sure, but sometimes it definitely still feels like walking through a clone army.

It doesn’t help when I get a lot of stares when walking down the street. Despite my many comparatively radical body alterations, I decided to keep an appearance that was pretty close to my natural genetic appearance. From those looks you’d expect to find out I’m from a different planet. No, I just look a bit more like a normal human being.

So I was kind of taken aback when I saw her, because even though she still had many elements of that perfect cloned angular face, it was marked by scarring that had run from the bottom of her left nostril, rendered her left eye unusable and disfigured, and out the other side. Most people would have had it removed or cured, like a stain.

She could tell I was surprised.

Her eye studied me. Bright and intelligent, that eye tore me down into little atoms and put them back together in an instant. Maybe she was also taken aback by my appearance, for different reasons. In that moment, I was being judged by a person that had a long history of being on the defensive. If I was a threat to her, if I would become a source of pain, she was sure to find it.

A few months later, after we had been spending more and more time together. She was fascinating to me, the way she looked at the advertisements, the way she looked at the plants, the way she looked at the statue of Atlas himself in the city square– triumphantly able to maintain an independent posture with the earth shrugged off his shoulders– and even the artificial sky of the dome itself. None of it was convincing enough for her; all the money and all the artistry in the universe couldn’t dispel her skepticism. To her, it was devoid of spirit. It was missing the genuine beating heart beneath the chest. I found out that her scarring was from a similar incident to the one I had recently helped her with, only that time she had to let go of the droid. She sounded sad about it.

We were walking to a bar, talking about Earth, and ruminating on how returning to it might help us get back to our roots. At the time it seemed perfectly sensible to me, as when one walks down the streets of Atlas, one gets bombarded with advertisements on top of signs on top of more advertisements, and thinks perhaps it might be nice to see a damn tree once. Sophia, taking off her augmented reality classes, looked at me curiously and asked me if I ever thought about Earth before I met her.

“Yea. Actually, that’s how I got my name.” I said, and my heart skipped a beat. She was going to want to know why I named myself. My eyes flickered as I encrypted the (technically illegal) essay I was reading, before I took my own glasses off.

Without Augmented Reality on, Atlas looked like a barren city with no signs, road markers, or clocks. It seemed like everyone in the world spent all their time staring at empty spaces.

“What does the name Cheyenne have to do with Earth?” she asked.

I sighed internally with relief. I couldn’t help but wonder, did she miss that unanswered question because other curiosities eclipsed it? Or maybe… she was like me.

“Cheyenne?” she asked again

“Oh, sorry. My ancestors, I’m told, were something of a minority group back on Earth. They experienced hardships. But, apparently, they were really in tune with nature or something. Not sure how much of it was true, it’s hard to find a credible source in any of the stores, but of those tribes was named the Cheyenne.” I shrugged.

“Ah.”

I don’t know if it was my imagination or if I saw a new question flash across her face for a moment, but then we were stopped by another advertisement.

Need something new in your life? Need to spice up your marriage? Just feeling lonely? Everyone needs something to care for! Get on the Reproduction permit fast track today!

My soul left my body. I was sixteen again, back in the moment when I saw that ad for the first time.

I had a different name and body then. I barely recognize that person; to be honest, when he returns to my memory he seems so small and scared.

Political dissent begins with the vaguest feeling that something is wrong. That ad was the first time I felt that. I didn’t really have any words or frameworks to coagulate the feeling I had when that intrusive marketing garbage imposed itself on my eyeballs for the first time.

Little Alexander Williams was walking to school when he saw that ad, and the only reaction his adolescent mind could really cop to was just staring in disbelief. His mind went in a few million different places, one of them being “How much did I cost?”

Kids cost resources, and if the most efficient way to distribute resource is to allow a market to determine their cost, then the best way to distribute resources for the creation of new human beings– limiting reproduction in the process– is to allow the market to allot it an increasing cost.

I didn’t have time to think of all that though, because I was met with yet another advertisement.

Are you tired of your body?

A visual representation of a small boy who did not look so different from me flashed across the screen. He was being mocked by groups of people behind his back, and he was obviously depressed.

Tired of being mocked, belittled, snickered at behind your back?

This actually made Alexander look behind him. He had always wondered; were people snickering at him? Nobody was, of course. It was a rare human indeed on Atlas that spared a thought for others.

But the ad planted that uncertainty in him anyway.

Grab the new fembody maximum, with extra soft breasts and hydraulic vagina!

He tore his augmented reality glasses off his face and threw them on the ground, stomping them in disgust.

You see, when your society spends so much time telling you what to want, you start to wonder,

Does what you want come from within?

Or from them?

You see, when that ad came up again, so many years later, I felt a surge of affection for Sophia when a familiar look of disgust came across her face. She looked at me, and I must have had a very similar expression as well, because she smiled at me and laughed.

“Ugh,” she said, “Reminds you of those terrible sex change ads doesn’t it? Disgusting.”

Sometimes when a human experiences traumatic events, she remembers them so vividly that she can not tell the difference between past and present. For me, the timelines blurred, and my teenage “boy” life mixed with my adult woman life, and everything turned upside down.

Was Sophia like me? Did she experience those same difficulties? Or, was it people like me she was disgusted with? Maybe the right thing to do was to bring it up with her in private, to talk with her about how I felt, where I came from, what my past was like, why I did what I did.

But I didn’t.

We grew closer at an easy, measured pace. I was beginning to spend more time looking in the mirror worrying over my physical features again.

“You’re perfect just the way you are.” she’d tell me in those rare moments when she caught me.

But what am I? She doesn’t even know. Maybe she knows more than me.

We both had a mutual aversion to sex at first. We shared a sense of mutual rebellion against the commodification of personhood, and in many ways our relationship was rooted in it. Sex just seemed like yet another currency, something that the material conditions of living on Venus had endowed with properties beyond its actual worth. Intellectually we understood that it was a natural activity; sex existed long before capitalism, and would persist long after. Emotionally, we had trouble relaxing our guard long enough to actually figure out how to feel about sex.

Sophia booked us a vacation to a zero gravity room, because I had never been in zero gravity before and she felt it was a necessary activity everyone should do at least once before they die. The flight was mostly uneventful, as the shuttles maintained a comfortable .89g thrust the entire time.

When we arrived I spent most of my time playing with newtonian, and then non newtonian, fluids in zero-g. Most importantly, at least to me, was the view. No purer view of the stars and other planets exists in the solar system. I spent a lot of time looking at Earth in particular, but was surprised to find that I felt nothing no matter how long I stared at it.

It just doesn’t seem like my planet. Even if parts of me want it to be.

That first night we comfortably shared a bed, and because it is hard to sleep without gravity we turned on the thrusters a little bit.

I was relaying my conflicted feelings about Earth to Sophia, when she paused and asked me a question.

“Would you sing with me?”

hate my voice. Sometimes I can still hear the boy-me in it.

I shook my head no, and she smiled with a mischievous smile.

“Aww come on,” she continued “it’s an old song from earth I found that I really like.”

“Then you sing it.” I teased with fake petulance.

“You know no one wants to hear me sing,” she said, her voice like a wisp of smoke, “Not since I got these scars.”

“I do.” I assured her. We’d had this conversation before. “The scars are what made me love you in the first place.”

But this time she surprised me by doing exactly that. She sang to me about how I am her sunshine and make her happy when skies are grey. I could tell she was insecure, and nervous, and she only knew the first verse. To me it was an awe inspiring feat of strength.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“You’re a good singer.” I said with a smile.

Then she sang it again. It’s strange, when you’re used to everything seeming like a script, or an advertisement, simple gestures like an “I love you” or “You’re beautiful” seem fake, and only the moments of meanness and anger seem real. Maybe that’s why relationships on Venus seem to be so short much of the time.

So she sung it to me again, and again, until I started to believe it. I cried, and I sung it back to her on her last try. We kissed, and we made love in the cradle of the infinite darkness.

This began a fruitful time of peace and contentment in our relationship, but it wasn’t meant to last.

A few months later, Sophia was entertaining one of her friends in her house. I had basically crawled entirely into her life like some kind of parasite at that point, and my previous concerns and anxieties were basically forgotten. I was laying my head in her lap while she gently stroked my hair, and my eyes were comfortably closed.

They were talking about how they view artificial intelligence in the outer planets. Her friend was something of an expert, although she uncomfortably talked about the people of the outer planets like they were some sort of science experiment. They rely almost entirely on robots there, and with some of them theorizing that sentient AI may already exist. Sophia offered a perspective that blew my mind, and finally explained why she stuck her hands in the terraformer that day. She told her friend that if AI can be sentient, then there are necessarily unethical implications to poor treatment of AI– her theory being that any intelligence should be treated with humanity whether animal or sentient. I adore the idea of AI myself, and so I quickly lost myself in thinking about these complex ethical implications.

All just free thought, of course, as sapience in AI is theoretical at best and, most likely, impossible.

I lost track of the conversation while I fixated on my own thoughts. They moved to artificialness in general, to transhumanism as a philosophy, to a topic of conversation that plucked me out of the clouds and back into the room like a dead weight.

“I guess I can’t get behind transhumanism because I find the whole body alteration thing disgusting.” Sophia said, and my blood ran cold.

“I mean, I’m okay with things for health, but stuff like the ‘gender swapping’ shit…” her friend said.

“Ugh. You know Jefre came into the office the other day sporting tits, apparently they were the ultra pervert model or something because he said they could squirt milk on command.”

“That’s so fucking disgusting.” her friend said.

“Yea, and he also talked about how he was keeping his dick and balls all natural, and actually grabbed his crotch.”

“Ick. You know back on Earth there used to be a theory that people did that because seeing themselves as a woman just really got their rocks off.” her friend said.

“That would explain it.” Sophia laughed. Her laugh had never seemed cruel before, but there it was.

“What’s wrong dear?” she asked me.

Oh, I had lost track of what my face must look like “Oh, nothing, just thinking.”

She planted a kiss on my forehead and returned to her conversation, “Do you ever get those ads for the women to men versions? Last dick they pitched to me could shoot on verbal command.” she laughed.

I felt like I was a trapped, and the conversation would go on for days.

I had been avoiding her for a few days after that conversation. Sophia was never stupid; If she hadn’t figured out that my distance was because of that talk she would very soon.

It was no longer ethical to be with her without telling her about my past anyway.

After the first time she caught eye contact and I shuffled away, the look she had on her face was curiosity and confusion. It was right after work; I had privately requested that we have separate assignments by feeding our bosses some shit about efficiency and relationship troubles. Of course despite that right after work she had to come looking for me. I ducked into a bar and exited out the other side before she could catch that I was running away from her.

After my daring escape I saw a message flash up from her. Text.

You ok?

Yea, just feeling sick, don’t want you to catch it.

Caught something resistant?

Think so. Guess that means I’ll be spending the next day in a clinic. I attach a sick looking emoticon to make it extra convincing.

Okay, stay safe.

Honestly, the knowledge that all of this would be soon coming to a head left a pit in my stomach, and my weird need to just keep piling on lies to buy an extra day or two was nearly pathological. What is wrong with me? Just tell her and get it over with. You know how it’s going to turn out so just tell her and get it over with.

I spent that last day poking at my body obsessively again, but it felt like an empty hate letter to myself at this point.

Everything was over for me, the only option left was suicide.

But that leaves a terrible mess, and would probably make everyone I know very sad for a long time. Sophia would be decimated, as well. Considering everything else I’ve done already, running from my problems into the afterlife would be an extra shitty thing to do.

So I guess… I am stuck… being… alive. God. Damn it.

The morning I came clean, I felt like a sick corpse that had gotten sick, died, and gotten sick again while dead. My blood was about as functional as the muddy acidic sludge that came out of the terraformers.

The second time she caught eye contact– this time before work– it wasn’t concern or curiosity, but scrutiny. I didn’t really appreciate the differences between those words until that moment, but her eye disassembled my molecules in that brief eternity and left me wriggling pinned to the wall like a specimen.

An insect.

Something was lost in those same biological advances that enabled me to gain this body that so perfectly matched what I wanted. I’m not sure what it is, or why, but for some reason no matter how sick I felt I couldn’t do what my ancestors on Earth would have done; I couldn’t just pop my guts in the bathroom and feel better.

Work was similarly hellish. It wasn’t just the stomach ache, the atmosphere of Venus itself had become a cauldron of ominous portents. The air in my lungs was being taken in by the terraformers along with Venus’ toxic gas, churned into more friendly chemicals, stripped of everything useful, and dumped like garbage onto the planet’s surface.

Harmless garbage, but still trash.

“I have something I need to tell you.” I said to her, my voice shaking despite how much I practiced.

Her face softened, her lips parted with concern and care, “Whatever it is, we can handle it together.”

Sophia was rarely wrong, but when she was wrong? She was wrong hard.

I did my best to explain everything, and I think I wobbled between a few angles before finally settling on one. I started from the beginning, how I felt, what I experienced, my discomfort with masculinity, my discomfort with the male features of my body. I’m not sure what was sinking in, because after it clicked for her (which was quickly) she became silent, and her face was hard like carbon. Of course I was already crying halfway through. I didn’t need my engineering degrees or a fleet of psychologists to tell me how this was going to end.

“I’m only attracted to women, Cheyenne. Is that even your real name?”

“It is my real name, and I am a woman.” It was hard to appear convincing through the intermittent sobbing. I was so powerless in that moment, as powerless as I’ve ever felt.

She rubbed her forehead, she was really quiet for a another brief eternity, “I’m… I don’t really want to hear this bullshit.” and she turned and walked away.

“Sophia!” I cried after her, when she walked away.

A perfectly haloed silhouette in that damn dome’s perfect artificial weather.

I didn’t go back into work the next day. I self-medicated with alcohol, like an old fashioned gal. I didn’t want to talk to any doctors or fill out any surveys, and most of all I did not want to entertain the constant stream of advertisements about serotonin enhancers and dopamine implants and ‘nutritional supplements’ that give you reckless euphoria and indifference to pain.

I didn’t want euphoria, and I certainly didn’t want indifference to pain.

The recklessness I could accomplish on my own.

I spent the next few days in an alcoholic haze, so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m fuzzy on the details. I had a few bottles of the cheapest strongest liquor I could find, and I took steady shots throughout the day for, if I had to guess, too many days. I was getting my money’s worth out of that state of the art liver, and I’m sure it would have walked away too if it could have.

Too bad, liver. You’re stuck with me.

You sit in there and you eliminate alcohol until you can’t any more.

I spent most of my drunken binge sobbing, I guess. Sobbing into pillows and sobbing in the shower, and then sobbing on the floor or sobbing into the sink.

I sobbed into the mirror, looking at my own disgusting body with my stupid chromosomes and my shitty hips and fake breasts and fake legs. I punched the mirror out, grabbing shards of glass with heaving breaths. I feel my blood drip down out of my skin, down the razor sharp edges of my ex-mirror and into the sink– like water in a cave. It forms stalagmites from my heart’s blood, pointing up at me out of the sink like blades– threatening me– jabbing at my throat. Old gods slither from my drain, reaching out to me with crystalline tendrils, threatening to drag me in– drag me through the atmosphere of Venus and down through the floor of the universe into the endless void. I open up old wounds to appease them– to give those old monsters my blood to feast upon. I would have dragged my own heart screaming out of my chest to feed that cold fire. I would have laughed as it desperately reached out with its aortas– with its capillaries– trying to claw its way back into the safety of my chest cavity. I would have cackled with glee as it beat its last pathetic spurt of blood before those tendrils dragged it under. What use was it to me now? It was a worthless organ, a piece of meat, a blood sac whose purpose peaked at sending muddy sludge liquid to my shitty extremities so that I can continue clumsily taking shots to numb the pain.

When I got the next message from her, it was several weeks later. I didn’t really want to read it, but some ghost within me demanded to see it, or else it would haunt me for the rest of my days. So I opened it.

Okay, I’m ready to talk.

I didn’t expect that, and I didn’t really have any idea what I was going to say to her, but I dragged my corpse into the shower anyway.

I definitely needed it.

It’s hard to describe exactly how I felt, or what was running through my mind as I made my way to that bar. I think it was a bar. Maybe it was a cafe. I’m not sure what the difference is and I’m too afraid to ask.

I thought of things to say, I guess, poetic gestures and powerful words.

When I saw her sitting there in that cafe, my poor heart beat again for the first time in so many days. I walked over there, my whole body and soul shaking like a tree in a tempest. I thought about all the things I’d written in my mind about how I felt in the last few days.

All the things I wanted to tell her. I wanted to tell her that each moment I didn’t confess, each tick of the clock, was frustratingly lithium in my mind. I wanted to tell her that each moment in the past was one I wanted to go back to, to take it again and undo that hesitation. But those moments were gone now, they caught fire when they met the air, and all that was left was the silky smoke of regret. I wanted to tell her that I lamented the cruelty of this universe for even putting me in this position in the first place, for all the molecules and probability wobbles that slid and jumped in one inexorable incomprehensible pattern just to bring one idiot to this point.

I wanted to tell her a lot of things, but instead what I did was just collapse and start crying the moment I hit the table. Writers have always glorified the power of words, put them on a pedestal and glorified them for their power to change and sway the hearts of others.

I think, though, that in that moment my inability to reach those words was far more powerful. Because she pulled me into her lap, and held me there. She felt the fresh scars on my wrists, and ran her eye over the sickly pallor of my skin.

To this day I still do not know if what she felt in that moment was pity for what happened to me, or respect for how I survived it. I’m not sure what changed her heart, she said she couldn’t explain it to me, that it just seemed petty and closed minded in retrospect.

Nowadays I feel like we are closer than we ever were. Secrets between us were trudged from the mud, and now my soul meets open air and breathes for the first time in my life.

Sophia decided off the back of our ordeal that just because people should like their bodies the way they are, doesn’t mean they can’t change them if they want to. I won’t lie, she had a great deal more questions beyond that moment, but I– more than willing to put up with the tedium– answered all of them patiently. She confessed to me that her scars around her eyes had bothered her for a long time, and that she worried over them in the mirror privately and very often. I told her I could relate. She went into a clinic and got the scars removed, and had her face altered to more closely resemble its natural state. Her blind eye she kept, she told me it was a part of her now, and besides it reminded her that no one will ever be smart enough to see the whole picture, no matter how much they try. I told her that’s an illuminating metaphor, but if she ever changed her mind I’d support her.

I can understand, to some extent, how she felt. I guess I felt the same way about myself for a while. In a world that’s constantly telling you what to want so it can sell it to you, not knowing what’s real and what’s fake seems like a basic feature of the human condition.

We’re a long way from home.

Our path away from it started long before we left Terra. For me, I have to believe there’s a way back, but laden within that path are many pitfalls and chasms. I have to believe that we can find our way through it, and at the end learn to love each other for who we are even if figuring out what that means isn’t always as simple as we’d like.

With love, care, and candor,

Cheyenne Darby


© Copyright 2018 Sherly Mac. All rights reserved.

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