You Already Knew

January 13, 2011
Scouring the cold, metal cupboards for anything to eat I realize that we are out of the pork instameal tablets; the only instameals I can find are liver. There is the possibility of cooking an actual meal. Ha! Like anyone nowadays cooks real food; cooking requires too much energy. First, I would have to go fifteen miles to a market to even find fresh food. Then the actual process of cutting meat and vegetables makes my skin crawl. Instead, I make a note to myself to order some more from HID, Home Instameal Database. Bent should be home from school soon and being the teenage boy that he is, he must be hungry.
The front portal slides open and I can hear Bent’s shoes clank against the metal flooring. His hair is protruding straight out to the right side of his head, frozen in the position with hair glue. The holes in his ears are big enough to fit two fingers through. His clothes are so tight that I don’t understand how kids these days can move or even breath. He took his handheld schoolwork and put it on the charging module. “How was your day, Bent?” “The same old thing I do every day. Go to school and sit listening to lectures by robots.” He paused and looked at me with an awkward expression. “I have a question, though. A new girl today mentioned in the lunch commons something called marriage, but she stopped talking when she saw me looking at her. What is marriage?”
I knew this topic all too well. “Well, Bent, hundreds of years ago there was a ceremony called marriage where a man and a woman would declare their devotion to each other and vow to be together forever until death did they part. A contract was formed between the two binding them together legally. A ring was a symbol of this union. When two humans had a great attraction to each other they were “in love.” People would get married to reproduce and have a family together. The man was the husband and the woman was the wife. They would be devoted to each other and would have no physical or emotional relationships with anyone else. The idea was beautiful. They lived in the same house and would spend time together raising their children. Celebrating anniversaries of their marriage was also a very popular gift exchanging event to further show their commitment. In the end, they would grow old together and eventually cease to exist.
“Then about one hundred years ago, in the earlier years of the 2030’s, more men and women would argue and fight to a point where the marriage would end early in something called divorce. The couple, as they were called, would have more hate for their spouse than they had love. The average span of marriage in the 2030’s was only two to five years. Because marriage was legally binding, in order to separate, the couple had to go to court to get out of the marriage. The thought of marriage wasn’t practical anymore as people spent more money on divorce court than on anything else. Families were broken apart; there was a bout of depression and sadness that spread throughout the United States. Eventually, marriage became a ridiculous notion of the past and has long since been forgotten.
“In this day and age, men and women aren’t legally bound to one another. Individuals change partners like they change their underwear. Relationships aren’t a constant part of our life, but are always changing. This helps to keep life exciting and new. When the idea of not limiting yourself to one partner arouse, there was a population spike and the amount of disease and poverty grew as well. More and more children were abandoned. In the year 2064, those with sexually transmitted diseases, formerly known as STDs, were exiled to a separate but large enough island where they could reside happily yet not spread disease to the mainland. Unfortunately, five years later, a group of terrorists attacked the island destroying everyone that inhabited it as well as the diseases they carried. In order to keep population in check, the government mandated in 2082, that women are only allowed to have one female child, and then they are sterilized.”

A minute passes as he sits there quietly with his head resting on his fist. His eyebrows scrunch as he absorbs all the information I have just told him. I broke the silence, “I had the same look years ago when I asked my mother the same question.” He looks up at me, “If you already knew all of this, then why did you get married, to later be divorced? I saw the ring. I met my sister today. She told me everything.”





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