Chapter 1, Returnee.
I’d just been speaking with the fabulous ChaWhana about the mood change right before my Eureka moment. “I know,” she kept bubbling. “We’ll get together. Let’s plan it.”
Right before my Eureka moment, a hard coded psyche moment. Laser fresh.
Summer Festival was commencing and a party mood was invading. Rainbow sky reigned. Don’t know if you’ve been to Nobel. The Summer Festival is homage to Earth and humanity, a time to celebrate. The rainbow sky’s the crowning reminder of what we’re doing. Seriously, the sky wasn’t blue but swathed with wide rainbow bands, red, orange, yellow, well, you know, a rainbow’s colors. Let me not belabor that.
This was the seventy-fifth Summer Festival, the diamond celebration. Maybe they chemicalized the dome’s air to make us happier and more energetic or we experienced a cumulative release, a natural breaking point. My domains’ denizens had been working heads down hard on projects. We were surfacing like it was a great awakening. Thris was singing, harmonizing with his boyfriend’s falsetto. Others joined, lighting the filament with music. I even sang,
“Summertime, and we’re alive,
lazing in love’s sunshine.
Celebrating the beginning
of the end,
and thinking of the days we’ll be together again.
the last we’ll know,
until death’s winter is lifted.”
Pings lit my filament. Those aren’t the words, my system said as did everyone else pinging me, laughing. I laughed, rebutting, “So? It’s the best I can do. Live with it.”
And I'd found myself, well, some critical essence. Accomplishment pumped my giddiness. It wasn’t that I really found me, like I was missing, but only that I’d confirmed my records were wrong. The wrong records explained so many gaps. I couldn’t wait to discuss it with Mom. I didn’t know if she would. She doesn’t take well to those things.
Let me tell you how ChaWhana was. Not tall nor short, ChaWhana is a brown eyed white girl with vampy black and blue hair. She’s uncomplicated, five mood and behavior settings, maybe more that I don’t know, but I think, from all I’ve witnessed and heard about her, she has five settings. Unfiltered and raw as I am, I have settings with settings in settings and they change with a gnat’s fart. ChaWhana told me she likes that about me, that I’m so uncontrolled, unfiltered, emotional, impulsive and passionate. She’d even stated she enjoyed my darker sides.
ChaWhana is my bizzaro world opposite. She bubbles but it’s leashed. Being uncontrolled is the antitheses of her behavior. Yet she’s always, always happy, not just quiet happy but energetically so. Her first three settings are happiness, happiness and happiness. I envy that, that someone could be so uncommonly happy and joyful and that it seemed so honest.
Well, not always happy, not in her ‘other’ settings, if you get me. Her other settings are much different. Her fourth setting would be somber or sad, like when she’s thinking about her mother and grandmother, who cut her off and won’t speak to her. Won’t accept vmails from her or nothing like that. When she goes into that setting, she styles like a recluse. You won’t see her for several days.
Don’t ever go to ChaWhana’s fifth setting. You don’t want her on her fifth setting. That’s her angry setting, her absolute pissed off to all orbits above and below position. We villagers all flee when she goes to five.
What I’m saying about ChaWhana is usually in that happy mood but when she’s sad, she’s really sad. Be-ware when she’s mad. I profile her and know when her moods are changing. I watch for it.
I told her that, too. She knew how I felt. She and I were connected. We profiled one another, confession, I’ve profiled her more than once and frequently profiled her again to see if anything had changed. According to all the math and science, she and I profile at about a seventy-two. It varies. I think once it got as high as seventy-four and as low as seventy. It’s never gone below seventy but if you know about profiling, anything in the seventies is not indicative of a successful relationship. Most people keeping company share at least something in the nineties.
But she and me, with our seventies relationship profile quotients, constantly link up. I’m not saying the profiling science isn’t right. ChaWhana and I were the profiling exceptions. Something about us defied the systems. I believed it was true love and special chemistry.
That’s all about her then. I think other things now, like how she’s not genuine. Sometimes I think that she has more settings than I ever knew but other times I think, no, she just had one setting, that was to be deceitful. She completely duped me and all the rest although they won’t all acknowledge it. After they found out, usually from me, many comments from people who knew her begin – paraphrasing the gist –“You know, I wondered about her. Yeah, she was usually happy, with this hyper effervescence but didn’t that seem like that was faked to you sometimes?”
No, I never saw that. No, no, no, it never seemed faked. No. Not to me.
Liana said, “You know, I sometimes wondered because she had those dark days when she just disappeared. It was really mysterious, you know? No vmail in or out, virtually out of every domain, completely absent from everything, like she didn’t really exist, right? So I wasn’t surprised because it was like she was living a secret life then.”
I didn’t accept what Liana was telling me about her suspicions. It seemed like Liana was solving a crime after all the facts have already been revealed and the trial is over. “You never said anything to me about that.”
“I know, she had you so deep in her grasp, you wouldn’t have believed me and that would have just pushed you away from me. I didn’t want that.”
Liana’s revelations cooled me. I’m notorious among my friends for withdrawing and sulking. “I still wish you told me.”
“See, there you are already, you’re already mad at me and starting into your angry and hurt portrayal, just what you would have done if I’d told you and I didn’t want that. I know you. That’s who you are and who you will be unless you re-engineer your personality which I know you will not do.”
The challenging jab is familiar. “You think you know me, like you think you knew ChaWhana.”
Even with all our chips and technology and memory enhancements, we can still be fooled. We can still believe we know and trust someone, and be completely wrong.
That was the other possibility for why she and me were good together. ChaWhana always laughed and agreed with me that it was probably true love we had but that never let her become willing to contract. I think she was joking, I think she loved me but not deeply, not enough to cope with my millions of emotional settings and capricious behavior. Even if it was true love….
I’ve known a few true loves, always with women, never had an inclination for a man, three true loves since I’ve mentioned it. We profiled over one hundred each time and we stayed together a while but it didn’t last. Trivia note: most people who score below one forty on their profiles will contract three times and stay together ten years. People scoring one forty and above are more likely to stay together more than ten years. People scoring below one hundred usually don’t do more than hook.
But there we were. ChaWhana said that’s because true love is a fluid state. She believes our profiles are off because they look for what we know we like instead of exposing ourselves to different people that might reveal something else. She feels true love is too often thought of like magnets and steel. Magnets are drawn to steel but that’s not all that defines either material.
I don’t know. I was mad for her but –
I live in the shadow of exceptions, hesitations, frustrations and qualifications. She wasn’t willing to contract. That’s how it come down. I’d suggested it, teasing around a kernel of need and truth, but I didn’t press her when she turned me down. Just did it every chance I had, that’s all. Love her I do but contracting is when you’re ready to dock somewhere in a family way. That was not my gig then. So I guess I was relieved when she turned me down. I have to wonder how history would have been different, my history, anyway, if it had been true love and we had contracted. But –
When I had that Eureka Moment, I called for ChaWhana naturally. This was big news and joy was overwhelming me. I had to share it with her of all people.
I couldn’t find ChaWhana in the domain or on my filament and thought how weird that was but nothing else. I’d just been conversing with her and I was happy. She’d been happy. Although I started sharing my news with everyone from the first line, I especially wanted to share it with ChaWhana so after the fail finding her in my filament, I thought maybe she’d gone into one of her moods. I hadn’t noticed anything, though, and she had tells about when she was about to do the darkside. Once I’d started seeing them, I used to try to cajole her into being happy but when the tells begin creeping out, her mood isn’t going to change. I’d learned that so when the tells demonstrate her darkside rising, I just prepared myself for her withdrawal and got ready to spend time without her.
But there hadn’t been any of those tells that day, nothing. She’d exhibited her usual happy bubbliness. I didn’t think there would be anything wrong with me going to her place so I ported from my lab to there to find and tell her.
Then, pop, that was it.