“I don’t know.” The words on the menu were dead, staring back at me in the most unhelpful silence. It didn’t make a difference, I could order a steak or a soup and it would ultimately be pointless. Nothing we do has any impact. We’re the tiny people. The insignificant ones. I smiled to myself as I stirred my tea, allowing the white and brown in the cup to unify, creating my favourite beverage like a form of art. It was beautiful.
“You coming to the party tonight?” She asked from across the table, and I gave her a mild look.
“Maybe.” I wanted…what did I want anymore? Most say change. I don’t want change. It creates fear and confusion, which in turn create division. As far as I’m concerned, change is a weapon of war upon the masses, the people beneath their government. I laughed out loud, and she glanced upon my odd expression.
“People. It sounds collective, doesn’t it? It casts an illusion of unity while they do all they can to divide us. To weaken us. People doesn’t exist. We’re an extinct concept.” She smiles kindly, almost patronisingly. She doesn’t understand, but she nods anyway. Something tells me we’ve all been doing that for far too long. Our unrelenting tolerance of those in charge has caused all this damage, because they all have their own agendas. They aren’t leaders.
Inhuman, pumped out through filters on the screen, they aren’t people either. They lost the right to call themselves people upon their disconnection from our race. They commit acts of betrayal on our behalf, manipulating the truth until it becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. A fiction. Society has long been living under the assumption that we will automatically create a social haven, the ideal we all strive to. We won’t.
The truth freezes the earth every night, a blanket of frost to remind us of our treachery. The way we sin against one another, and what right do we have? We carry our guilt in silence. We cower in our warm beds every night, without fail. We ignore it. I stand for the moment, reaching for the latch above me as I open the window, as I push the hinge to its limit. I inhale the cold air at the height of a bitter winter. It’s a refreshing sensation, despite the way it stings my nose. Dawn approaches gradually, pink beams leaking through the darkness, the ice glistening under the lies.
“We should order now.” She reminded me confidently. But why? Why did it even matter? “You choose for me.” I requested quietly as I sat back down in the warmth. I felt that perhaps I was wrong to do so, but I couldn’t quite make up my mind. It seemed easier that another did it for me. “She’ll have the vegetarian option.” I heard her voice as she spoke to the waiter, as she nodded at me. Rather than correcting her, I looked down in disappointment. I didn’t want the vegetarian option, but now it was too late. There was nothing I could do.
But how could I complain? In my inaction, in my indecisiveness, I had lost the right. I was to be damned to a meal I would in no way enjoy, I was to be forced to look across the table as she ate the bacon and eggs I craved so badly, yet was entitled to none of. It seemed unjust and unfair that she had what I wanted, while I was once again just settling. She’s out of touch, she doesn’t know what I want. How could she? She isn’t me.
For the first time, I know exactly what I want.
I want my mind back.
I glance at the bad decisions I made as they are handed to me on a big, bleak, platter, before staring longingly at the means she is presented with, for doing no more than make her own choices. For making mine for me. No more. “I don’t want this. None of us want this.” Without another word, I take independent action, standing from the table and walking through the café with my head held high. People turn and watch, their eyes plagued by the fear of standing, the fear of leaving the tables they were assigned, the fear of making their own decisions. They’ve forgotten how.
Opening the door, I am unprepared for the harshness of the cold, staggering back as the wind overpowers me.
I sigh happily under the first sense of reality I’ve been allowed all my life as I recover from my lapse, and while it isn’t pretty yet, at least it’s my own. With honest work and good judgement, people could make something beautiful. Will it happen?
I don’t know.