Changing World (Fiction)

Picking out the perfect person online is difficult.  Looking through all these profiles to find the right match and then left to wonder if I will be their perfect match, too.  I have already looked at the ones who thought I was their match, and ruled them all out for various reasons.  At least these profiles don’t complicate things with any insight into their personalities.  After all, its just their body I am interested in.

Sometimes I get nostalgic for the old days that I never knew.  Sure, the methods and outcomes may have been cruder back then, but maybe it was easier.  Judging from the stories of prejudice and discrimination in the history books, it wasn’t easier.  It is hard to believe now that those things actually went on, though.  Time and distance seems to have a way of romanticising.  Even wars can seem noble and romantic instead of gory and tragic, given enough time.

Enough daydreaming, back to the task at hand.  The database of profiles seems endless, but of course it’s not.  Once I narrow it down by geography, sex and age, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

This technique was perfected a few years ago.  The usual controversy accompanied it, but with the appropriate regulations, it is fairly standard in many countries now.  It was such a simple idea, match male bodies with female bodies, what could be easier.  Now anyone can register in the database in the hopes of finding a match.  Then they simply take your essence and swap it with the other persons.

Ok, not so simple.  I still don’t understand all of the mechanics of it..  Basically though, all of your thoughts, memories, brain patterns, everything that makes you who you are, except the physical body, is downloaded and put into the empty body of someone else.  Formerly someone else, technically.  

Some were worried that criminals would use it to escape justice.  Maybe rich people could use it to escape old age or disease.  That’s what the regulations are for.  All changes are between similar ages and health levels.  All of your old records go with the new body and fingerprints.  

So here I am, looking.  Back in the old days I would have been researching surgeons, I suppose.  That was how they used to do it.  Nowadays, if your sex and gender don’t match, you find your perfect other sex match online.  Only people wanting to switch can register.  After everything is settled, thirty-six hours at the clinic is all the change takes.  You both walk out in bodies you are more comfortable with.

Here’sone that could be a great match.  I will let them know I am interested, maybe I will get a positive response this time.

My SisterĀ 

Fiction 

My little sister is the best.  In all honesty, we are twins, so she technically isn’t my little sister, but I will always think of her that way.  I had to grow up faster than her, she has always been the childish one.  Mind you, I don’t mean that in any negative way at all, one of the things I love most about her is her playfulness.

I have had to protect her for as long as I can remember.  When we were young, I shielded her from the grown ups.  I was too young to really understand why they wanted to hurt her, but I could sense when she was in danger.  That’s when I started hiding her away.  I was very good at keeping her in places where she wouldn’t be found, then distracting the grown ups.  They didn’t hurt me as much, at least as far as they knew.  They may not have been as hostile to me, but they never considered how it makes a child feel to have to be his sister’s protector and caregiver.  I learned distrust at an early age.

As the years went on, I kept her hidden away.  It was the best, and only way I knew to keep her safe.  She got to continue to be a child while I was the responsible one.  Maybe she wasn’t totally oblivious to what was happening, but I kept her from knowing the worst of it.  

One of my regrets in keeping her in hiding is that I didn’t nurture her as much as she needed.  I did the best I knew, but now I can see I could have done a lot more.  Just keeping her safe was a huge accomplishment though.  

I may have have kept her locked away longer than was necessary.  I think we both fell into a pattern that seemed best for us.  She could play in the safety of our home and I faced the world for us and took on the responsibilities. This went on for years, until she started getting restless and wanted to go out into the world herself.

That was such a huge struggle, I was so used to keeping her safe, I could only imagine disaster if she left my protection.  She kept trying though, and I started to see that she needed to be out on her own.  I wasn’t convinced she didn’t need my protection, but honestly she was just wearing me down. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still love her and will be here to take care of her if she needs me.  All the years of being the grown up, even when we were kids has taken their toll.  I am tired, and she is right, she can face the world now in relative safety, and let me rest.  She goes out more and more now, testing the waters.  After all those years if seclusion, she needs to adjust.  The day is coming soon though, that she will take on my role.  She will keep me safely away, let me rest.  She can’t give me back the childhood I didn’t get, but I can take pleasure in watching her explore.  She is still a child.  She can benefit from my knowledge while remaining curious and playful.  I can live my childhood vicariously through her now.  

I love my little sister. She knows I was just trying to keep her safe, but I know she is a bit afraid that I will try to lock her away again. Honestly though, I don’t have the energy.  I will be totally content to “retire” and let her lock me away.  She can be free now.  

Woman in Black

The train is crowded with commuters on their way home.  For the most part it looks like every other evening, everybody seems to blend into each other, a mass of people with no real distinguishing features, crammed into a metal tube that occasionally stops and squeezes out part of the blob. 

At the first such stop after I melted into this blob, after the train has expelled all the occupants that belong on this platform, a distinguishing feature gets on the train.  Maybe she is beautifully unremarkable to most, but I am immediately drawn to her outfit.  All black and perfectly matched.  There is a story she is trying to tell with this outfit.  First of all, the blacks are all the same, not something you would notice unless you have seen it.  None more faded than the other.  Even the black of the boots matches the outfit.  Remarkable.  Was that planned? 

The other thing that really stands out is the total lack of color, except black and flesh.  Most of the non conformists you see in this part of town have the same u inform on.  Predominantly black, but always some color showing somewhere.  Maybe shoes, nail polish, or even a bra strap that won’t stay on a shoulder.  Not her, no sign of color at all.  It makes me want to find out what is underneath.  Not underneath this perfect black outfit, I want to melt into her.  I want to see the world from her eyes.  What has driven her to choose these clothes to face the world in.  Is her closet full of such outfits?  If I could see through her eyes, would the world look dark?  I don’t think so.  I think colors would look more vivid, to the point of sensory overload.  I would have to wear black to have refuge from them.

I think about my own nail polish, safely hidden under the black crinkled leather of my shoes.  Maybe this is her reason?  The black is camouflage.  By standing out in this perfect outfit, she has hidden from the world.  You can’t see any further than the dazzlingly dull clothes.  The black absorbs the gaze and protects what’s inside.  Could she be hiding things she wants no one else to know? 

My stop is near.  I shuffle towards the door so the tube can squeeze me out when they open.  I want to hug her, comfort her, see if the black would swallow me like it does the stares.  Instead, I am spit onto the platform and she has disappeared in the crowded train. 

Floating

When I signed up for this voyage, they failed to mention how confining it could feel.  Maybe it was never expressly stated, but it was supposed to lead to happiness, the life you have always dreamed of.  How nice it all sounded in the brochure.

Everyone seemed uncomfortable at first.  That’s what the years if training were for.  All those hours learning the role they meant for you to play.  The others settled into their role effortlessly.  They probably thought the same of me.  I appeared to, at least.  How could they know how unsuited I was for my role.  I never said anything.  Why would I? If I did, I might have endangered my spot on this trip that was going to be so amazing.

Now we have embarked and I am trapped.  The role I was so uncomfortable in at first has become unbearable.  I am stuck in this tiny craft, stuck with pretending to be something I am not.  I have to keep pretending, the others are counting on it.  It’s not their fault, I am the one who led them to believe I wanted to be here and wanted the role I accepted.  I may not have asked for it, but I sure did jump into it with both feet. 

I know there is only one way out now.  My earliest training taught me how dangerous that way is.  “You must never go there, that leads to unimaginable horrors.” It is the way I must go now, though.  I know there is no other choice for me.  I can’t stay confined in here, I just can’t.

I am sure no one saw me come in here.  I reach to open the hatch.  Look how much my hand is shaking.  By focusing my concentration, I am able to open it.  It takes all my will to step out into the nothingness.  I am still tethered to the spacecraft, but I am not confined anymore.  I am free.  I am standing on the edge of space.

My hands aren’t shaking anymore.  The nerves are gone.  Unhooking the tether takes little effort.  I didn’t think it would be like this.  The unimaginable horrors aren’t here.  Nothing is here.  As far as I am concerned, no one has ever been here before.  Oh sure, I have heard the stories of the others.  I can’t say I am following their path though.  There are no footprints in space.  Everyone’s path is their own out here.  I won’t leave a path for anyone else, either.  If I ever get to where I am going, I will gladly do what I can to help, but I can’t leave breadcrumbs for them to follow.

The tether is still in sight, floating around just like me.  If I stretch maybe I could still reach it, but I don’t want to.  I am floating in an utterly empty world, watching my old life drift away.  Someone else will fill that role I never felt right in. 

Now I am thinking about a new role.  Maybe I haven’t been training all those years for it, but it already feels comfortable.  I am still in the middle of nothing though.  How long will I float out here before I find what I am looking for?  Will I be welcomed when I find it?  Maybe this is unimaginable horror for some.  Floating with nothing in sight, no anchor, no role to call your own.  It is the antithesis to what we were told it was supposed to be.  We were supposed to glide along in a safe secure and oh so solid craft, insulated from nothingness, being who were trained to be.  Now that safe secure craft is out of sight.

I am all alone, drifting towards the unknown, with nothing to grab on to, no security, no insulation.  It is quite peaceful in reality.  No one telling me my role.  Until my destination comes into sight, until it’s clear, I will just float.  I will just be.

Going to Sleep (Fiction)

I know this is finally it.  All I have to do is close my eyes and go to sleep.  I have known for a long time this day would come, but am I really ready?  All of the pains of the past will be gone, but letting go isn’t easy.

I am laying here all alone at such a big moment.  Shouldn’t someone be here with me?  Has any of the last half century mattered?  Will anyone even notice that I was here and now I am gone? 

What is that butterfly effect thing?  If I travelled back in time and killed a butterfly, it would change the entire course of history, or something like that.  Surely my life has been at least as significant as a butterfly’s, hasn’t it? 

Has it really been a half century?  Not quite, but close.  Saying it that way makes it sound so long.  I don’t feel that old.  How does “that old” feel?

Are these really the things I should be thinking about now, or am I just postponing closing my eyes?  I haven’t always been happy, but I have enjoyed my life.  I am not afraid to close my eyes now.  Stepping into the unknown does bring some trepidation, but no regret for what I am leaving behind. 

There have been plenty of laughs and smiles through the years.  I am sure I brought joy to others.  That should be a good measure for a significant life, shouldn’t it?  Is this what they mean about your life flashing before your eyes?  It’s not really a flash, why did they lie to me? 

There is not much else to do but close my eyes now.  I have done this thousands of times, one more should be easy.  I feel like I should say goodbye to myself, too, before I drift off.  I am not positive that is necessary though.  Maybe it is just the shell that will be gone.  All my thoughts, all my experiences, the essence of who I am are not contained in my shell.  I can shed my body and I am still me.  That essence won’t disappear because the body does, right?

What a tired cliche, but if it’s appropriate this isn’t the time to come up with another one, so it’s back to that butterfly.  Is the butterfly the same creature as the caterpillar, just in a new body?  Is that what happens to us?  Some might agree with that and others would strongly disagree.  That is one advantage of being alone, I guess.  No disagreements.  That is the way it is.  I can close my eyes and even though the body will be gone, the essence will continue. 

That dissolves any reason I may have had to put it off any longer.  Just in case, goodbye me.  We may not have always got along, but we survived a lot and sometimes even thrived. 

There, my eyes are closed and I am drifting off.  Sleep will carry away the old pains.  I am not afraid or sad.