by Gaaya N.
Seven seconds. 7,000 milliseconds. 7,000,000 microseconds. For me, a semi-ordinary girl, seven seconds is the difference between life and death. Success and failure. Triumph and defeat. By seven measly seconds, I beat my undisclosed sister into the world.
It should have been me. I should have been the one in the car. I should have been the one slain like a rat. I had mourned with grief that morning as with all the days to follow. It should have been me.
I had always wanted a sibling, ever since I could remember. From the time since I was little, I had already decided. I wanted someone to play with and befriend. But, as I later learned, the law forbids it. If I had traveled back in time, to the distant past, and advised younger me that she has a sister, younger-me would’ve wailed, distrusting the unfamiliar voice and the stranger that she will eventually become, for the only important voice and face that she has recognized is her mother. This small child, who has longed for a sibling has, by now, already learned, that in the world she now lives and breathes in, not one pair must bear no more than one child, so why, she’d think, would a stranger say that she had a sibling?
In this unforgiving world, due to the global population being on the rise and the sparsity of materials, the government solves this problem by permitting only one child per couple. Their thinking is that the fewer individuals there are, the less energy and space they’ll take up. In fact, even if the word children is uttered, the offender is immediately sentenced to thirty lashes. It's the government's way of complete obedience and order.
Sometimes, when I dream, I fantasize about the world before The Ecological Uprising. When global overpopulation and the energy crisis were just theories. And you could bear as many children to your heart’s content. A time when countries weren't wartorn and you could communicate to your loved ones without the fear of your brain being tapped with the new mind reader they released a few years back. When you could speak your mind and stand up for what you believe in with no punishing government to torture you until you give in.
I still remember that day. The day when the truth was bestowed upon me on a glowing silver platter. That joyful, wondrous day. It was my birthday, and my parents had sat me down in our hovercraft and flew me over to a town called Chelux. I was very impatient the whole ride over. I can remember the exact outfit I wore - a flowered tank top with my old-fashioned beige skirt - although it’s been 5 years, It’s as vivid in my mind than ever.
We arrived at a very stylish house. Large skylight windows let in plenty of light to the rooms below the roof. The house itself was surrounded by a tranquil garden with various flowers, and a long pond surrounded by a small waterfall and various rock formations dotted about.
After having our retinas scanned at the door, we heard muffled voices, one low and calm and the other shrieking with nervousness. The voices were muffled just enough so that I couldn’t make out the words. Then, silence, it enveloped the area around us, and the cherry-pink mechanic door swung open with a soft click.
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