Be the same person...
Single file a stretch of 1024 bytes, all in separate packets, stream along a desolate path. Except they weren’t data packets; they were people. Black and white and uniformed. They poured into the empty vessel of a room systematically. It reminded me of when my mother would put her pearl necklace into her old jewelry box. But such memories were no longer allowed. They made you different.
“All is One - Inside, Outside, By Oneself, With Others”
Those words were on the wall, over the speakers, tattooed on our arm, approved thoughts. Thoughts which keep us all alike. I peer around, careful not to be obvious. We are tucked neatly into individual cradles. Rows of 32 by 32. A farm of data packets, people, tucked into individual, tiny cubes. Our desks. It is here we work. Ours is not to ask why we do this. Asking would make me different.
“All is One--Inside”
Each person appears the same; same blank expressionless faces, same clothes, same movements, all in sync. We go about our time here as one. If one were to really look, one would see we are all carbon copies. But we don’t look. Looking would make me different.
“All is One--Outside”
From nowhere, a memory came to me. A sound in my head that was vaguely familiar. An image of a girl dancing. Her red dress sparkled in the light. A faded image, much like an old photograph, in my mind’s eye. I barely can hang on to the thought. This girl in red, smart independent, sexual. How did I know that? Was she me? No! I cannot have these thoughts.
“All is One--By Oneself”
Next to me, a set of eyes begin to shift. The movement was so slight, but enough for me to notice. I realize the one next to me--she’s a girl! Why did I never notice that? Was she always the one to my right? Did she notice me acting differently because I had a different thought? She looked again and caught my eye. Her eyes were hazel, almost green, wait weren’t they black before? Black and white and uniformed? This must stop.
“All is One--With Others”
Somewhere from around me there came a sigh. It was a mere, nearly inaudible passing of air between lips. Soft pink lips--wait, how did I know they were pink? Was that a whistling sound I heard? Suddenly, the whistle was coming from my lips. Shiny and pink and soft, a petal of a rose. I smiled and in my head a different thought.
“I don’t want to be anyone else.”
Then I yelled, “I don’t wanna be nobody else!”
The room floods with color as we stand. The few of us, in varying shades of bright and dark colors, laugh aloud. The rest seem unaffected by us. I look down at my red dress. Each crystal shines brighter than the last. Not all of us have changed, however some of us have realized we no longer fit in this mold.
We are who we are no matter where we are. We are our own selves no matter who we are with. We are one individual, but together we are unique. We are aware of that now, and we do not belong here. As for the others, the unaffected, maybe they do belong. As I take the hand of the hazel-eyed girl, she smiled back at me with her shimmering pink lips, and we leave.
“Be the same person privately, publicly, and personally.” Judah Smith