Requirements for Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

      “Request denied due to unqualified applicants,” read the e-mail, the e-mail whose arrival we had been anticipating for months. My arm went around my wife’s waist, not a word from my lips, nor from hers. A practiced ritual. It was the third time we had been denied. It seemed a perfect method: only parents who are completely capable of raising intelligent, moral children should be allowed to procreate, thus restricting the number of births and promoting the welfare of all children. Thrice denied, thrice told that our morals, or our intelligence, or our financial standing, was not good enough. And still, still - we thought differently. For this reason, my wife illegally stopped taking her birth control pills, flushing them down the toilet, and, unbeknownst to the government, we set out to become parents.

We’d both read about it before: years ago, when anyone who wanted to could have a baby out in the uncultured regions of the world, when people still thought everyone capable of parenting. How people now quaked at the thought! Billions and billions of people, and no steady decline in the population. Now, however, there are fewer and fewer people by the day.

Once in a while, a friend would be approved for parenthood and the lives of the mother and her partner would become the lives everyone dreamed of: income from the government, nurses to care for the mother’s every need, and more than anything, the chance for someone to continue in the form of a future generation. Of course, some desired it less than others, perhaps never even applying, knowing that their purpose was in their work, or the person they lived with, not in childbearing. We knew we wanted a baby. And so we tried. In the dark of the night, when no one could tell the difference from our earlier inconsequential lovemaking, we tried.

My wife took ill, or so thought her friends. What could she have contracted in this world nearly free of disease? People whispered in the streets - I heard them upon occasion - that she was not physically ill but crazy, the only kind of ill we couldn’t cure yet. “And living with a psychiatrist!” they’d exclaim. “You’d think he’d do something.” Yes, a psychiatrist, and one whose grandfather had developed the psychiatric assessment of the parenthood eligibility application. How I had admired my grandfather: the author, researcher and doctor. How I had striven to be like him - but the test, the test - he was unknowingly the cause of all my grief, and every night, I hated him.

My wife took to reading only the old books, the books from the freedom days, as they were jokingly known, when liberty wasn’t just choosing whom to live with but had to do with so-called unalienable rights of man. Thus, she knew what was coming without having gone through the mandatory classes that we require for all mothers-to-be. She knew (though I didn’t) when the pain came, and that it meant even more pain for her. I fetched her a glass of water. I thought about how I hadn’t become a surgeon partially because I wanted to be like my grandfather, but mostly because I was squeamish at the sight of blood. It happened during the day, so the few people who heard blamed it on her impending insanity. We listened to Beethoven’s Fourth, and the blood came, and I held her hand and never closed my eyes once.

There we were, fourteen years later, waiting for them to come, knowing that we did the right thing, but wishing we’d done it better. They never suspected anything years ago, when I purchased countless foods that could be eaten by a baby, or when I bought schoolbooks for my wife to teach with (whom she was teaching I never mentioned). Nor when, perhaps, an extra voice was heard emerging from the house. We were both crazy, everyone knew. Perhaps a doctor had come at long last. I wondered where our baby, our child of fourteen years, was when my grandfather, now over a hundred, told my wife he knew about our child. And I wondered where both wife and child were when my grandfather arrived to take me away to his psychiatric ward, “treatment for hallucinations” scrawled wearily at the foot of my bed.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 8 at 3:29 am
i love this !
B">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 14, 2017 at 5:02 am
WOW. Amazing. Great.
SamanthaMichelleProctor said...
Jan. 27, 2017 at 12:19 am
Very interesting. Held my attention the whole time, and in only a few paragraphs, I began to truly admire this man and woman who were so filled with love that they were compelled to make and raise a baby. Bravo!
CallMeAria This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 7, 2015 at 8:46 pm
Awesome! Love the length and the language you use. The ending really hits the reader :)
Shreya1256 said...
Aug. 17, 2015 at 12:02 am
This is a really good story,but I think the ending was a little bit confusing.
Made_Of_Greed said...
Dec. 17, 2014 at 7:46 am
This is awesome. I love the dystopian theme to the story.
LifeWorthLiving.AC said...
Aug. 7, 2014 at 10:46 pm
I really liked it.  I understood it.  I was really sad in the end though.  I just wanted him to be happy and be able to keep the child... sad that he was imagining it all. 
SavannaCumbee This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm
A great oppurtunity to create a fantastic story! I enjoyed how it took place in the future and had a hint of a utopian society to the plot. The idea was very unique. I think it would be better if you explained what happened a little more. Some parts were confusing, such as the ending. Why was the father taken? What happened afterwards? Those are all questions you should answer. But I liked how you gave a bit of background in the beginning, that helped a bit. But overall, it was an interesting st... (more »)
Asher15 said...
Jul. 6, 2013 at 5:18 am
It is such a great set up for a type of thought provoking story I would love to read more.
LittleFlutiePie said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm
This is really good! It has a lot of thought and emotion. You're really talented :)
Blue4 said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I love futuristic, somewhat strange and realistic pieces like this. Great job!

Can someone look at some of my work, rate and comment? Thanks.

daughteroftheking said...
Jul. 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm
This is really cool!! I love it!!
writerfreak21231This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm
it was a great story! I loved it! I just posted my two new stories called the beast and nightstalker, if any of u read it make sure u post comments saying if you like it or not or if i should change anything about it. Thanks! :D
thestorygirl said...
May 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I didn't mean to rate this a one star!

I mean't 5, but it won't let me redo it :|

flare556 said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm
All & all, I liked it! Its a RLLY creative type of story. plez write more! XD
evie_girl_novelette445 said...
Nov. 16, 2009 at 8:50 pm
Wow, I really like this! I love how much depth you put into it! It made complete sense and I love it! It reminds me totally of those movies that are set in the future . . . . I could see it being a part of one!
Maybe if you put a little more zap into it it would be even more interesting than it already is! Other than that, GREAT job!
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