Sunflower Skins

July 14, 2010

Sketches, Experiment 13: Dramatics & Secrets Over Tea


My o my, am I exhausted! From dawn til five o’clock shadow I’ve cleaned this house—our cozy, two-storey house, so quaint and yet so sophisticated, with old toys and new robots mingling amongst each other—I’ve cleaned this house and paid the bills and gotten the kids safely to and from school. Phew!

I throw myself down on the antique sofa to rest. Actually, we’re not supposed to sit on it; I move aside the doll collection when my husband isn’t home. I should tell you about my husband! We’ve been married eight years in October—I just love fall weddings—and he has given me the two most adorable children. They’re in kindergarten and first grade, my oldest being considered for the gifted program! He looks just like my husband, I tell you—the eyes are the same. Our youngest looks like me, but the older one is just a spitting image of his father.

We didn’t imagine we’d have both children quite so close in age; in fact, we hadn’t actually planned to have both at all. After several years of being newlyweds, my husband and I tried to have children, but my uterus wasn’t receptive—though I’m not really supposed to discuss matters of that kind. Anyway, we finally agreed to allow my husband’s wiring to be replicated for familial purposes.

The DNA sat for months and we were told that if the reproductive process hadn’t began by now, there was little chance that the cells would ever divide and create a new being. So my husband and I returned to our daily lives without hope of children. Perhaps we’d adopt? We weren’t sure.

About a year later, my unpredicted, miraculous pregnancy was predicated by an even bigger surprise: there was also a mutation from my husband’s cells, already into the second trimester! Somehow, by some trick of fate, our baby in the womb was younger than the baby in the tank, but it didn’t matter; my husband and I were thrilled.

Ooh, what lovely children we have!—so bright and clean and inquisitive. I tell them it’s good to ask questions, it’s good to know where you came from, but to mind whom you ask and when. My husband and I may disagree on some issues, but we always encourage our children’s obedience in this world. I mustn’t tell you this, but my husband nearly lost his job because of an offhand comment to a co-worker at the factory; you never can be too careful. After the close call, I wanted to relocate, for the threat of unemployment was unfair when his very creation was conditional upon being put to use—but my husband just closed his mouth and shook his head.

He told me to keep my lips sealed, and here I am, yammering on like a mad woman! Perhaps my husband is right, that he and our oldest will survive the extermination because of their encoding—because they’re encoded, because they are not human—but I just can’t imagine not having this sweet little life! If I just curl up here—on this old sofa, centuries and centuries preserved by a local company specializing in antiques before the 3000’s. They have the most interesting things. For instance, the other day I went into the store and saw a bed with tall iron posts at each corner; the salesman called it a canopy­-style—but I was too embarrassed to ask what that meant. Sometimes I feel so much more unlearned than the rest of the community. I know there are other female human beings in my neighborhood, but I doubt they get quite so much pleasure from their housewifery as I do. I simply love the old way of things, the manual way to clean a floor or to dust the bookshelf.

Imagine: If I just stay here a little longer, on this island from long ago, will I remember the old times? Beside woven ragdolls and knitted blankets, will I connect with where I believe I came from? Or am I eternally in this present—the glossy, automated makings of a dream.

I am: one of many sent through to this world from what you call your present. Maybe it would be mine—if I were not in this particular pink and green-polka-dotted dress, with this specific checkered apron—but those circumstances differ only slightly. Maybe that’s why I’m so chatty today, feeling like an old neighbour dropped by for tea.

Imagine, if that’s what we were—so close in time, our neighbouring selves—from my future-present to your past-present, one moment comprised of us in all places.

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