A TRADITIONAL AFFAIR by Kristi Loobeek

A Traditional Affair

By Kristi Loobeek

            Warm light floated through the thick adjusting stainless steel blinds and crept over to where my sleeping face was.  My conciseness yawned, over exhausted, and returned to me. Blinking rapidly at the natural light I muttered “enough”  and swept my hand towards the blinds, which instantly responded by first opening all the way up and blinding me, and then shut themselves. “Ugh you would” I rebutted and pressed my cold fingers on my burning corneas. With my eyes still closed I checked the scroll rolling across my Visicam, 8:00am,Saturday May 32nd 3010, Temp: 64 Wind: 7mph, UVA/B: 17%. It was going to be a nice day, UV was a little high, but manageable, a perfect day for a wedding. With a twitch of my eyes to the left the Visicam shut off.

            Nathaniel would be waking up soon.  We may not be allowed to see each other until later today but no one said I couldn’t send notes. “Voice note to Nathaniel,” I started, taking my time with his name, loving how long and rich it sounded compared to most names. “Hey splenda, can’t wait until tonight. One Soul, Margaret…. Send message.” A quick green flicker from the P.O.R.T.  let me know the message had been sent. Smiling to myself I made nice with the blinds and motioned for them to let a little light in. Glancing outside I gasp, it may be 64 with 17%, but the scroll didn’t mention they were releasing ozone today. The whole sky was a mottled grey/green color as the thick clouds of ozone floated their way up to heavens. This was just perfect, a sunset ceremony with big puffs of ozone in all the pictures, God damnit, all Axon was in charge of was picking a date, how hard was that? The P.O.R.T.  just needed a simple prompt, weather May 30th? weather May 31st? Cloudy, no. Rainy, no. Clear, yes.

            Interrupting my inner monologue was my mother, cussing at the sliding door because it wasn’t opening fast enough for her exuberated state. Bounding into my layer she scooped me into her arms. Squeezing me so hard I swear I could feel the thermal wires of my clothes, she hugged her baby girl. Instantly I felt a release, my mom was here, everything would be okay. “Hi baby, how are you? Did you just get up? You must have by the looks of your hair,” answering all her own questions like always, she laughed her tinkling little laugh at her own joke. “Have you checked the weather? Axon did a great job huh? It’s going to be so beautiful…”

“What?!” I rudely interrupt. “Are you trying to politics me? Its ozone day, OZONE DAY, I am going to kill Axon,” I shout as I begin to pace.

Grabbing my hand and coaxing me to sit on the bed-pod, my mother smiles and shushes me. “Baby, baby, take a breath, the ozone will be all released and raised by one, splenda, the ceremony isn’t until seven thirty, it’ll be okay, everyone knows ozone days have the most colorful sunsets.” She motioned her hand for the blinds to roll themselves up. “Look, look out there, it’s only eight and it already looks like they’ve stopped releasing for the day, it just has to rise, think of how happy your guests will be when the UV is zero percent at the ceremony.”

Good God I love this woman. I grab her and squeeze her tighter than she did to me. I twitch my eyes to the right until it gives me the scroll of my vitals. I watch as my blood pressure decrease but my heart rate stay at an excited state, go figure.  As the scroll continues it blinks a yellow and blue light letting me know I’m dehydrated. I release my mom and switch off my scroll simultaneously. “Wanna get breakfast before we start?” I ask her. She nods and begins to talk about something but I am in my own world. With the weather fiasco settled a million other things begin to race through my head. I grab a tunic and head out the door to the shifter with my mother at my side. As we are lowered and slid to the other half of the house by magnetic electricity I pull up a connect page on my Visicam, confusing it momentarily when I acknowledge some unknown topic to my mom with a nod.

Redirecting to my most visited sites, I check the RSVP one last time, 176, what? What unruly person dared to throw off my near perfect number of guests? Attending-most recent- Uncle Solar, oh he would. I quickly switch to the Stat site, oh good all bridesmaids are awake, and only one groomsman, figures. Even my little niece Luna is up: Luna, stat, Sooo jolted for my favorite aunt’s wedding today, all on the background of flashing tie-die, pre-teens these days, is tie-die really fashionable again? But favorite aunt? That’s not very nice Luna, I think to myself and am about to eye flick a response when the shifter comes to a stop.

I close my Visicam and glance for the first time over at my mother since we left my room. “…so I told her it was completely unacceptable to be wearing black, its spring and a wedding. What does she think, she’s a politician?” she looks at me for confirmation and I vigorously nod and spurt out a few yes, uh huh, totally’s: crisis averted.

Walking into the kitchen I immediately go over to my favorite swing chair and plop inside, feeling the lifters adjust to my weight and begin to sway back and forth. “C and C please and thank you,” I chirp to the kitchen P.O.R.T. My mom adds a “double that,” and comes to sit beside me as the P.O.R.T. begins turning on all the appliances. While we sit and stare out the soni-glass at our backyard I feel the sadness I had been trying to avoid come creeping back into me. Growing up here had been a dream come true, I had the best parents, the best friends and a P.O.R.T. that knew all my favorites, and now I was leaving.

            Just as the glistening in my eyes is about to overflow, a glide tray gently nudges my knee. I grab my C and C and take a sip, loving the mix of cocoa and coffee. My mother does the same but instead of taking a sip gives me that “I’m your mother, now tell me what’s wrong” look. I remain silent for another minute until she raises her eyebrow in a most disconcerting way. “Alright, alright, I’m sad that I’m leaving that’s all,” I gush much quicker than I wanted to. “Oh Margaret, splenda, you always worry about the strangest things,” she replies. “First you worry about your Match Test and now you worry about leaving? Do you think your father and I are going somewhere too? Splenda, you can come back whenever you want, but I don’t think you’re gonna want to with a guy like Nathaniel.”

            It was true, I did worry about unnecessary things. The day of the Match Test the only thing running through my mind was that I was either going to be one: the first person in history to do the Test their whole life and never find their match, or two: one of the 3% of people that split from their Match. I had been so scared that day giving my blood sample and answering questions to the Match P.O.R.T. I stuttered and took huge pauses to think through my answers first. Little did I know that I was going to be matched the first time, with a professional athlete none the less. So much for my mother’s dream of an ambassador. But, meeting Nathaniel had been the most nerve racking of all. Would he like me? Would he like my hair better if it was up, or down? Would he think my sense of humor was actually funny? Would he think less of me because I was 20 and he was 26? The last part brought a smile to my face as I thought about it. Nathaniel had told me how jealous all his teammates were when he wasn’t matched year after year. The longer he went without a Match meant the younger his Match would be…men. Worrying about all these things turned out to be futile. Of course he likes me, he likes my hair any way I wear it, he thinks I’m very witty, and he loves that I’m younger, he says it keeps the maturity levels equal. There’s a reason the phrase “I love you” had been replaced. It was for when people like Nathaniel and I met, because love isn’t enough, we are one soul.

“Ya, your right mom, guess I’m just a little emotional today,” I sign. She reaches over and grabs my free hand. Together we sit and compare stories. We laugh, but, inevitably start to cry, and then laugh some more.  After drinking my whole mug and continually checking the descending UV percent we decide to start getting things ready, the bridesmaids will be porting here soon and I haven’t even showered yet. My mother goes ahead to the port room to be the greeter. Once she leaves me I feel the sadness creep back into my heart, its beat jolts. On the verge of tears once again I drag myself back to the shifter. As the door slides shut I lean against the cold wall and prepare myself for the next wave of tears. Instead, to my surprise, my Visicam and the shifter P.O.R.T. both flash a pink light. New Voice Note from Nathaniel rolls across my scroll. “Play note,” I say forgetting my sadness. “Good morning Mar,” rumbles Nathaniel’s just-woke-up voice from the P.O.R.T.  “don’t freak out about the ozone, it’s going to be gone by tonight. Everyone knows the sunsets are almost as beautiful as you on ozone days, we are One Soul, Nathaniel.”


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