Excuse any typos/grammatical errors as this is a rough draft.
So here we are, sitting on the first intergalactic flight to our future home. Its been about a year and we are just now getting here. Its amazing, one year, and it feels like the blink of an eye thanks to the hyper-sleep chairs. My name is Jameson, and I’m one of the few 100% natural humans left. Everyone else has been updated. I missed the birth update cutoff, and decided not to go in to get it done. Its a free treatment, something about the government trying to push the human race forward, but I just feel like some things are lost after the update. Maybe its love, or soul – if those still exist. So anyways, I’m on this trip with my buddy ledgwig and his fiancé Sarah, both of which are about to wake up.
Ledgwig…ledg…ledgy old pal, WAKE UP!
“WOW (cough-cough) would ya look at that!”
I know its absolutely amazing, I’ve got to say, its a lot redder than I thought it would be
“Come on, Jameson you really didn’t know it was red”
I knew, just didn’t think it was that red, I don’t want to hear anything out of you, I haven’t updated yet!
“Oh yea, so when are you going to?”
I don’t know, maybe…
“Oh please, get off that love, soul mumbo jumbo, its all fake”
To you, I just don’t know, maybe there is something that Ill miss out on if I update
“Like being amazing and genius?…hardly”
Enough, Enough, we’re landing soon.
Loudspeaker: “Ladies and Gentlemen please pull down your safety harness, we will be landing shortly”
Oh, yes Sarah, how was your sleep?
“Pretty good, doesn’t seem like a year, do I look older?”
Of course not! Wow everyone, would you look at that, its amazing!
“Just as I would have expected, a rough landing due to the changing atmospheric pressure.”
Oh shut up and enjoy it Ledgy!
We pulled into the docking station, got off the ship, and took a picture with a photo of Neil Armstrong, he had been dead for a while…its 2192 after all.
After the festivities I was brought to my home, a nice 2 bedroom pod off the main dome. We were the first to land, and many more ships were arriving tomorrow. As I lay in my new bed, in my fully furnished new home that cost me $20,000,000; I was fairly satisfied.
Back on Earth, civilization had moved underground. Once the earth ran out of oil there was mass chaos and war. Close to 5 billion people died, and the nuclear wasteland that was the earth became inhabitable. I was one of the few that invested in the underground infrastructure, as well as martian terraforming. I had a feeling things would go south as the oil dried up, and my investments paid off heavily. I became one of the wealthiest people on earth as I continued to invest in the idea that humans would destroy all that was good on the earth. My status as a successful businessman followed me to Mars despite the fact that I donated nearly all my money to charities before I left.
Since I was a young boy, my father always had dreams. But they remained dreams. He always thought that if he worked hard, he could buy the freedom to do what he wanted later in life. Long story made short: He died full of regret, having worked so many hard years just to get by. I grew up knowing that I should do what I love, and that money would follow. That’s what he told me to do at least, but I was too stupid to listen. I worked hard in the banking system, made investments, and slowly climbed my way up the social and financial ladder.
I always knew it was a mistake for me to fall in love, so I kept my walls up. My meager beginnings could not have been changed into the lavish lifestyle I enjoyed If i had fallen in love. But at what cost did my walls remain intact. I had accomplished my goals, but had forgotten the purpose of life along the way. The dream, the desire I had for more and more clouded my perception of happiness and reality. I was empty and incapable of letting go. Every time there was an opportunity for something more I could feel the air in my lungs press towards my neck and I restrained, allowing myself to not go any further. I talked to a psychologist. He taught me about love, and everything. He explained to me things that sounded so strange, yet made sense. I never understood that there was truth behind a girl “giving her heart.” I thought that was just an expression, not an actual thing. He showed me ancient texts, the real meaning of love and what it means to be a human in this crazy mating phenomenon. There is science and structure behind the roses and poems. There is an underlying meaning, a sentence. Something that is incorruptible and pure. Timeless phrases that grasp your hand and pull you through the process. He taught me how to love. I just needed to lower my walls and let it happen.
He was a wise man.
Back to what we were talking about.
The government began mandating human updates. What was once a luxury reserved for the rich became a necessity for all humans. People were smarter, able to contribute to society in a better way, and learned how to conserve and recycle. People think it odd that I don’t update, but I’m a believer. I believe in love and that being a genius is not the answer to happiness. The doctors, the virtual reality, everything pointed everyone towards updating, which replaced cells with microcomputers, and programmed neurons to fire a certain way. To be honest I don’t completely understand it, and that is because i’m not updated.
People have this fixation that I know less than them, which is true, but I know of things they cannot imagine. I have an imagination, and I can feel pain, and happiness, in a totally different way – the way moses, and jesus did. But enough with my mortal mind, sleep is what I need.
Awoken by a new sight, the roof of my pod opened and I could see the spaceships coming in. I scurried to get my things together, I really wanted to see the newcomers. By the time I got there almost everyone was already off and on their way to their new homes. It was slightly disappointing.
I went back to my pod and got ready for my first day at work, I was going to be a grocery store manager. Everyone was given a job to do, even if it had nothing to do with their skill set. Once I got to the store I was quickly given instructions, and then left to get to work. I needed to learn the new food, it was different. Genetically assembled proteins with different flavors like poultry, beef, and fish. The vegetables were grown in the store, and regenerated right after being picked by the customer.
The first day on the job was easy, there were only a few people that came in, which is what I thought would happen since there were only 150 of us in this new world so far. The population is supposed to rise to 100,000 by the end of the year, and that is all that this dome can support. There is another dome being built 20 miles south of here.
“Excuse me sir”
“where is the bread?”
Hmm…people are still the same, ask before they look. No matter, the real issue is that everyone that comes to this colony already has a family, seldom do loners like me come. I started to think.
Ive been doing the same thing day after day for the past month and nothing exciting seems to be happening. Maybe moving to Mars was a bad idea. I feel like my life is paused, but i’m still getting older.
I walked to the same gate I exited off of as a new ship was arriving. I waited anxiously, maybe to meet someone interesting, like a soccer player, or another un-updated human. Everyone got off, and in the back of the croud, with a very lost look on her face was this girl. I had no idea who she was, but I had butterflies the second I saw her. My initial instinct was to loose the eye contact and walk back to my pod, but I stood my ground. My mind was racing, my heart was pounding, and I just thought, give her attention, you don’t need any attention, just give her some. Thats was the secret I learned early on in my business career, it’s impossible to be nervous if you are the one giving attention. Wanting attention makes you vulnerable, and creates the possibility of rejection and humiliation. You would never be nervous to tell someone they just won the lottery. So I walked over to her.
you look lost, have you lost your party?
“No im alone? Can I help you? I really must be on my way”
ok, yea of course, bye.
“is it a crime to be alone?”
no its just that, most people come in families
“look buddy, I don’t need you saying…”
Im not saying anything like that, I came alone also
“Is this not normal?”
Are you updated?
“How dare you question my intelligence!”
Ma’am I am so sorry, I did not mean it that way, Im not updated either
“how do you know im not updated?”
Well I don’t…but I have a feeling
“well you are right, im not.”
Whats your name?
Well my name is Jameson, and it is very nice to meet you Kara!
“thanks, I really think I ought to be going”
yes, of course, would you like some company?
“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt”
In my spare time I had been studying ancient texts on love, and trying to remember what my psychologist once told me. I wanted to know the sentences that guided emotions, the phrases that could portray love, and the teachings to heal a broken heart. The language of love is a strange one. Its like a new language. The sentences and phrases are odd, but they make sense. They are the raw form; what we really want to say but don’t know how.
Kara and I walked back to her place, which happened to be pretty close to mine. We talked that night for hours, about earth, and people, and how the updates have destroyed the little things in life.
I think we should go on a date tomorrow, Kara, what do ya say?
“hmm.. a date? Why should I date you?”
Well, Im a trustworthy guy, and I think we should go on a date so we can share some happiness
(Thats the honest answer, no catchy phrases or one liners – thats what she wanted to hear)
“Do you believe in love, Jameson?”
well of course, don’t you
oh, well why not?
“because it is just a word, it has no meaning”
It is not just a word, but it also has no definition, yet it is not the opposite of anger or hatred, and it is not synonymous with happy.
“then what is it?”
I don’t know, but the opposite of love is nothingness, emptiness. Kara, you believe love is a word because your heart is not able to be given to someone.
“why would that be?” Kara asked
Because it’s still with someone, and that person is not returning the love
(kara starts crying)
“maybe this was a bad idea Jameson, I should go”
“goodbye” (kara runs out the door)
I didn’t see kara for a while after that, she walked into the store a couple times, to buy basic foodstuffs. She always had his look of emptiness on her face, like life had no purpose. I thought about her all the time, but maybe its just not meant to be. I was rationalizing, and giving up because I believed there was no chance. But I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to talk to her.
That night as I went to knock on her door she opened her door and started walking towards my pod.
“yes! I was actually about to come and talk to you”
Really? Long time, no see.
“Yes, I really want to figure out what love is”
oh, well, it has been a while since I have been down that road, but I guess we can have a chat, come on in.
We sat there by the fake lcd fireplace and drank blueberry juice talking about love and human things.
People all want to get updated, I said, but don’t realize they are missing out on love, depression, and other emotions. In order to feel the high or life, you must feel the low. There can be no mountain top without a valley.
“I know” kara said, “its not even that I did not want to miss out, I just thought that maybe at one point I would regret the update, so I just never did it”
Im glad you didn’t
“So tell me jameson, how to I get my heart back?”
well where is it?
“I don’t know, I mean, I fell in love many years ago. I thought I had met my life mate. He was my best friend, lover, he was everything. But I guess he didn’t feel the same about me.”
He is gone, the first step of healing is accepting loneliness, Kara.
“But I don’t want to take my heart back, its too hard, he can keep it.”
Between tears she said, “I never got any closure.”
(pause, then Jameson continues)
Kara, your need for closure is because you have a relationship with your memories, it’s the same as kissing a picture, its not the real thing. Stop living in the past and start living in the moment.
She looked at me, as if I could take the pain away.
“I guess that makes sense,” she said.
Of course it does, now if you want your heart back you need to accept loneliness, its going to hurt, but its necessary, think you can do that?
“I can try”
A couple weeks passed, and I heard nothing from Kara. Then one day she walked into the store, with intentions of finding me.
“I didn’t think it was possible but I’ve done it! Its mine, im lonely but full again!” kara said
Great! I can’t talk right now, but meet me after work at my pod
“Ok, I will!”
Later that night Kara and I had dinner at my pod. We had some genetic steaks with a side of hydroponic broccoli and marshmallow for dessert.
“Tell me about thoughts and feelings, Jameson”
Well, feelings are simply a memory of a past event. People say they have a feeling based off of what has happened to them in the past. They’re dangerous because there really is not much truth to them in many cases. Thoughts, however, deal more with the present and future.
“I don’t…Oh I guess that makes sense”
Yes, I may not be updated, but I know a thing or two
“What is a relationship?”
Well, a relationship is what happens when two people’s personal wants are met in a private union
“Ive never really had that exactly”
Well, where are you from?
Kara sighed, then said, “I grew up underground like most people, but I was the oldest daughter, so I was not allowed to know about love. I had some secret boyfriends, but my duty was to take care of my mother in her old age.”
It all made sense now why Kara knew so little about these topics. She fell in love with one of her secret boyfriends, but they could never be anything. Maybe he knew that.
“That sounds rough,” I replied
“I guess” kara said, “I never really recovered. I never learned what love was, or anything really.”
“What do most girls want?” Kara asked
Well most girls want to know the guys list
“what do you mean?”
well, they want to know what the guy wants, so they can make him happy.
“what does the girl want in return?”
Love, and to know that it is safe to give her heart
“what do girls want to hear?”
(Jameson thought hard for a moment. Remembering all of the psychology books and ancient texts he had read, in addition to the wise man he had once known, he gave the best response he could muster. When the modern day twists are stripped away and life is broken down into its simplest form – what’s the answer?)
Well every girls ultimate desire is to hear a man say to them: I want you to make my home, bear my kids, and keep us comfortable for the rest of our lives, and in return I will promise to always love you and make it safe for you to love me in return.
“wow,” said Kara
what do you mean, wow?
“That sounds good”
Yea, I guess it does haha
I like the way I feel when I’m around you, and I’d like to be around you more.
“what was that?”
that was me asking for us to be together, what do you say?
“how did that just work? Its exactly what ive always wanted to hear, how did you…”
Kara, girls want the guy to initiate, and tell them what they want, remember…
“Oh yea, its amazing, you’re amazing, where did you learn all of this from?”
A wise man, somewhere along the line.
We sat there for hours. I leaned in to kiss her, but i couldn’t let go. I felt restricted. The air in my lungs was stuck; I resisted. My brain spun a web of thoughts and the walls I built for a younger me held firm as my body tried to let go. I shook. Maybe it was me all along that needed saving. Maybe she knew that. Kara put her hand on my knee, leaned in to me and whispered in my ear. I stared into her eyes, and she stared back. I exhaled, closed my eyes, and let myself go.