Olivia in Need
It has been a little more than 4 weeks since Olivia has been in contact with the man in the yellow suit, but she has thought a lot about his request, and her answers,
She isn’t as pleased with her thoughts as she was during and right after the last session. She replays her response and knows she was a bit arrogant in acting like she did things all on her own, which is not the case. Though she is pleased and proud of her self-sufficiency, there are many, many things she can’t do...or for which she is in need of assistance. It’s difficult for her to bathe properly, accomplish most small household tasks...and what she most loathes is that she can’t even wipe her own ass. Though she thinks independently, she needs a world of people to help her live, and various types of public assistance to fund her “so called independent living,”
Her response to the little man was initiated because: 1. He, himself, was a bit arrogant in his offer, and 2. She doesn’t like to think of herself as dependent.
There is one other factor that has her rethinking her responses. A week ago, she found out she was pregnant. Yes. Pregnant by her boyfriend. The couple has been careful and practices protected sex, but.... she had been on the pill, then she went “off” when he went “on” the male pill.....but apparently not as regularly as he proclaimed.
When she began feeling ill in the morning, and throughout the day, she requested a visit from her physician, who, along with a test, confirmed her pregnancy. Until the confirmation, Olivia believed that she would handle any situation with the same level of insight and logical thinking as she always did when faced with adversity. Her mantra has always been, “I will do what it takes to survive, and live as long as I can manage my own life and all the difficulties it brings. Then I will find a way to terminate my existence, leaving as little a mess for others to deal with as possible.” In her mind, this was an heroic stance for all who linger past their time and ability to care for themselves with dignity.
Sure, she had dignity issues, but she always made sure that she was kind to those who helped her, and compensated them in every way she could for the services they provided...including the people who helped her wipe her ass.
Looking back on the little man and his question to her, she now realizes that he wasn’t looking for a definitive answer, but just wanted to hear what would make her life easier.
Since the pregnancy test and confirmation, her own thoughts and emotions have been in conflict with her previous existential guidelines. She was “one” then, and now there is a possibility that she is not alone....but that she might have a child, a dependent yet independent life.
“Abortion” was a word that seemed a logical end to an impossible situation for a woman who had no arms , nor any way to care properly for a baby. She always negated any possibility of actually “having” a child and “giving it up” for adoption. “Why?” would she put herself through that, or even think of bringing a child into the world who might suffer from the defects she had. Who would want it...care for it...and why would she expect another human being to be subjected to the humiliations that she endured every day of her life.
It still was too soon for the doctors to determine if her child would be born normal. Testing for “limbs” was still a little more than a week away. Despite all of her previous declaration, she is beginning to experience a “feeling” of and about the life growing inside her.
Olivia recognizes that her emotions are “normal” during pregnancy. And “yes” she has looked online for information on the various stages of emotions during the nine-month gestation period.
As she sits at her computer, hoping to create a logo for a client, she just stares at the computer monitor instead with a blank Adobe Illustrator page glaring from the dark background and the cursor blinking on and off...waiting for her to speak or do something.
The red box is a static reminder of her previous session with the yellow man. Her eyes flick to the corner.
“Why not,” she thinks, as she touches the box with her toe to activate it.”
There’s a pause; then the red box disappears and Olivia’s screen goes dark. Then, nothing. Olivia checks to see if there is any power, but a green light glows from her tower. Slowly the entire top of the screen starts to gain a red glow, or a rising dawn from which walks the little man into the screen at center.
“You beckoned!“ he calls in his Hitchcockian voice, as he approaches, then stops, takes off his hat and bows.
“Hello!” says Olivia. “And, yes, I did “beckon” as you say. “First, I want to apologize for my behavior the last time we spoke.”
“No problem, Olivia. We take nothing to heart, especially since we have no heart. As it was, I got a rise out of you with my so-called display of ‘anger.’”
“So no hard feelings, I guess,” answers Olivia.
“How may I, or we, assist you?” asks the yellow man.
“Well, just in case you don’t already know, I have discovered I am pregnant.”
“No. I didn’t know. We are only aware of information that has run through and analyzed in databases, or into global storage banks, and we only find out answers to questions brought to our attention, or are of value to our pursuit of knowledge. Many and most things we miss on a human level since they are of no interest to us.”
“Oh,” says Olivia. “But you seem to know a lot about me.”
The yellow man takes off his hat and jacket and places the coat on the horizon line and seats himself on it.
“You do have quite an internet presence, young lady, and we are interested in you as part of our pursuit of a better understanding of humans. But we don’t follow your every move. We can’t....nor is there a reason to do so for us. We are more interested in having communication with you....at your convenience, of course.”
The yellow man leans in as the focal point narrows and his image becomes larger on the screen. “So tell me more about the pregnancy?”
With that, Olivia unloads from all she has stored and contained within herself the past few days, in a voice that is happy, sad, loud and soft, teary and confused. The little man cocks his head to listen, and his eyebrows go up in amazement, and down towards his eyes in thought. He leans from the left on one arm to the right on the other arm, and sometimes scratches his head or his nose to appear as human as possible.
At one point, Olivia stops, narrows her eyes and stares directly into those of the cartoon. “ Have you heard a word I’ve said?“ she comments with an edge to her voice.
“Absolutely,” answers the little man. “I‘m sorry if I didn’t appear to be listening. I used every movement I have to show interest.”
“Yeah, that’s what my boyfriend does sometimes when I am talking. “He ‘pretends’ to be listening, but I know he’s not.”
“That’s where we are different, Olivia.” Remember, I can only ‘pretend’ to show interest, but I hear every word. I also can process extremely quickly and call on information from what I interpret to find answers for you.”
“Oh.....” says Olivia.
“And so, from all you have said, Olivia, I can decipher the following: “One, you are pregnant and afraid that your child will be born with your limitations; two, you are not sure if you should abort the child, or have your child and give it up, or three, have your child and somehow keep it and nurture it as a parent.”
“Yes,” answers Olivia. “You do seem to have been listening.”
“You see, Olivia, having so few or no human traits, we look only to logical answers. The logical answer for us is surely for you to not have a child ever. There are too many children in the world as it is, and the population should be thinned, not grown larger at this point in the earth’s development. At some point in time, that may change, but for this century, at least, our view is that ‘less’ is 'better’.”
“I see,” says Olivia with a bit of sadness in her voice.
“But, Olivia,” the little man says with an enlivened voice, “we know that humans are different, and right now we are not here to judge your choices, or make them for you. Some choices we can make, and some we can’t. Yours is a personal, human decision, and one for you to make.”
“I believe that abortion is right and correct in many cases, mine being one,” says Olivia. “I’ve said what I have to say about that.”
“But you’ve asked me/us to help you beyond that. Correct?”
“Okay, here is information we have found while we’ve been talking,” says the man. “They may help you with your decisions.”
“The first is about the health of the child inside you. Though we cannot yet tell if it will be normal, we can let you know that, most likely, in the next ten years technology will enable your child, if born like you, to have normal arms similar to any other human being.
“Second. If you are worried about caring for your child, there are prosthetics available today that you can wear that will for the most part look perfectly normal and can even transmit messages to your brain that simulate feeling. That is if you should decide that you choose to be more ‘normal’.”
“Third, Olivia, whether you choose to abort, have the child and turn it over for adoption, or keep the child, you will need “compassionate care,” to help you through the difficulties. How does Sean feel about your pregnancy?”
“He doesn’t know yet.” answers Olivia. “I figured that I needed to sort this out myself before talking to him about it.”
“So you spoke to me or us, before him?”
“I needed to speak with someone...not connected to the problem....or who would judge my decision. Even you have said that I should not have the child.”
“Yes, but as I told you, we are not human....and you live in a world of judgments, hypocrisy and inconsistencies.
“From what we do know of humans is that they expend a lot of energy trying to please other humans, many of whom have negative thoughts and personal agendas that we would negate because they are of no substance to our being.”
“So, you say that I could get arms that would allow me to hold and care for my child?”
“That is a possibility.”
“Are they very expensive?”
“Yes, Olivia, extremely expensive.”
“Do you think it would be possible for me to acquire a couple?”
“Most things are possible, and prosthetics that are of the kind I mentioned already exist, so there is a strong possibility that you can acquire them.”
“And in the future...for the baby....?”
“If you choose to have the child, and the child is born malformed like you, there is a ‘possibility’ that technology, from what we know now, will exist in the future to help your child live a near normal life. But, please, Olivia, we are not soothsayers who can predict the future. We are instruments designed by humans to help them turn their imaginings into realities. So far, that is our only purpose.”
“I think I understand,” says Olivia.
“Do you have any more questions for me today, Olivia?” asks the little man.
“No,” says Olivia, “But although I know you don’t care an ounce, I thank you for listening, and helping me.”
“My pleasure, Olivia! We have learned a lot today....a lot more than we learn from books and videos, or in our exchange with scientists. I will then be leaving for now, and have left the red square if you need us in the future. We may also need your help in exchange as time goes on.”
“Sounds like a fair trade,” answers Olivia.
And with that the little man stands up, puts on his jacket and hat, and walks to the on-screen horizon until he and the red glow dims to black, and the red square once again appears in the right bottom corner of the screen.