2120 Hindsight: A Special Person
July 18, 2120
It’s been too long since I last wrote. I’m feeling kind of blue, and I missed you and wanted to talk to you about things.
I guess the big news is that Amy died today. It was typhoid fever. She caught it yesterday sometime — I didn’t see the instruments myself, so I don’t know for sure — and she died this morning.
They say she caught typhoid from the water. Obviously, rich people like Mom and Dad aren’t going to filter sewage for the other 95% of the town. “It’s too damn much!” Dad says. Which may be true. I don’t know.
The folks believe that everybody should be created as I was. You come out of the laboratory, they hook you up to the instruments, add the juice, and in a couple of months you’re “fully formed, completely immunized, neurologically fine-tuned,” like they say in the ads. So then, no worries about typhoid.
I try to tell the folks that it’s expensive to have kids like they had me. All that programming and chemical work aren’t cheap. People like Amy’s family don’t have the money for anything like that. “Then they shouldn’t have had kids,” Mom says.
And she’s right. But accidents happen. The hospital screwed up their account. Amy told me she wasn’t supposed to be created, but then, one fine day, her parents got a call from the hospital, telling them that their brand-new 14-year-old daughter was ready to come home. Not much you can do at that point, other than sue the hospital for wrongful life. Everybody knows Judge Alice is on the hospital board, so not much hope there.
What was amazing about Amy was that she survived. She was a total budget baby. She thinks — I mean, she thought — that the hospital broke the law in releasing her in the condition she was in. She had diseases and problems that nobody has anymore. She suspected that, actually, she was ordered by another rich family, but the hospital screwed up the order, so they dumped her on some random poor family instead.
Most of the kids thought Amy was just hideous. Their parents too. I mean, getting diseases like that. It was ridiculous. But she, being the person she was, found something positive in it. She felt this was actually something a person could learn about. Can you imagine?
So she went around asking questions, and came up with the theory that her case was a really big screwup at the hospital. She believed that she was accidentally programmed with illegal genetic material from the early 21st century. That, she said, was why she lived through all those diseases: she was functioning like a person who would have had to face a world like that.
But I’m going on about nothing. I don’t mean to bore you. I guess this is my way of saying goodbye — telling stories about her. It’s kind of funny now, but it was embarrassing to be her friend, when she went around bothering people with her questions. Maybe her theory was right — sometimes she really did act like a person from the Wild Years.
Well, so anyway, that chapter of my life is over. She was with us for three years. Some of my friends stopped talking to me when I decided I liked her, despite her being unwashed and sick. Maybe they’ll come around again, now that she’s gone. Mom and Dad were OK with it — they feel that a young person should experience other cultures. They probably also figured that she’d die before she could have any real impact on my career.
I guess what’s bothering me is that Amy was so different. Maybe that’s why they don’t use that genetic material anymore. This kind of person is troubling. There was something really special about her.
Not to get sentimental about it — people die all the time — but I’m having this problem that, you know, I’m afraid I will never meet someone like her again. It’s a really weird, uncomfortable feeling, and I just don’t know what to do.
I guess that’s all I wanted to say. I hope you’ll get this letter soon. Imagine — in the Wild Years, you’d already have received it. We’d probably be arguing by electronic message. Though I have to admit, it would be nice to have instant contact with you now.
Thank you for listening to my little problems. Whenever you write back, please be sure to tell me what’s happening in your case. We’re all waiting for the day when they let you back in Canada again.
With all my best —
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Tags: 22nd century, baby, chemical, clean, death, diseases, fever, future, genetic, grief, immunization, life, loss, material, money, neurological, poverty, prediction, programming, sewage, sickness, test tube, typhoid, unwashed, water