Written in 365 Parts: 120: I Wasn't So Cold or Dead Inside

“What went wrong?”

“People died. I just wanted you out, wanted you to be the last. Or at least the last that I was responsible for.”

“I am not sure if you really are that responsible for me. I cannot judge that much. I want to feel anger at you. I really do. I feel rage inside at all the lies, at what I am, at who made me.” Marsh looked away at the corner of the room, not really seeing anything but his own thoughts. “But that’s not you. You were as much a pawn as I was. You just had an illusion of freedom. Sometimes maybe that’s all we have.”

“You should be angry at me. I am not a good person. For centuries I allowed them to take away the children and not fully care about what they did with them. What type of person does that? I cannot in any honesty say it is a good one.” She took a sip of her drink and took a deep breath, letting it out in spurts. “I fooled myself into thinking I wasn’t at fault and they could have used someone else. But that isn’t wholly true. I was complicit. I agreed. I was paid. I allowed that to happen. I was, I am, as much to blame.”

Marsh took a while before turning to look at her again. When he spoke it was calm but there was a tremor in his voice. “I don’t feel angry at you. Not right now. Why did you change?”

“I would love to tell you that when I gave birth to the first child, I realised that I had grown a life in me and that it changed me and made me special.” She bit of a laugh that was close to a scream of hysteria. She took a moment and then spoke again, “But that would be a lie. I felt only relief that it was over. Months of sickness, of being distorted, of feeling so tired, and heavy. I was glad to give birth. Not at the time though. So much blood, and sweat. I don’t remember the depths of the pain but I remember the weeks of recovery and the months it took for my body to feel like my own again. Those people who think it is all a rosy joy should try it, the medical technology allows us all to give it a go, I suggest that if you think it is a miracle you should be forced to enjoy that miracle first hand.”

“Sounds like you hated it?”

“I didn’t hate it. It is just not a pleasant experience. Evolution is cruel and harsh. If there was a good design to this it would be a zip and a small fully formed person, who could walk and talk and run around and look after themselves. That’s why we use tanks. No one uses the traditional method unless they have to. Colonists and the devoted are the only ones who subjugate people that way anymore.”

“So what changed?”

“Nothing changed. I just remembered that I wasn’t so cold or dead inside. I realised that I was doing something. I  was creating life the old fashioned way for sure, but as I said any machine can do that now, the mysticism is for the inane. What was important was not that I was giving life. I was a part of taking life. Your life. Repeatedly, your life. A part of me knew I had the connection of being your mother. Your surrogate. But I was just a biological sack. The part of me that cared was the part that didn’t want to be the cause of so many lives lost. The same life lost. Again and again. I had to save one of you. The last one that I was a part of.”

“Why are you dying?”

“I am old.”

“I heard that can be temporary these days?”

“It can be. But I have a degenerative gene. I have to replace a lot of my biology every few years. Each time it decays faster and more severely. It is manageable and I can easily last for centuries more. But I do not want to. I have learned that I have done enough. I want to die. But I also want to make sure that, before I did, I saved one of you. It isn’t a recompense, it is just the very least I could think of doing. I have nothing else.”

“I’m sorry.”

“What for?”

“Your pain. That you feel only death will end it.” Marsh bit the inside of his cheek. “I cannot end your pain. You have chosen your path and I don’t feel that I know how to change that and it might be the worst thing to do, if I did. But I can do one thing.”

She looked at Marsh tear falling from her eyes, “there is nothing you need to do for me.”

“There is.” Marsh stood and walked to her, he knelt in front of her and took her hands in his. “I forgive you, mother.” he put his arms around her and held on until she no longer wanted to be held.

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