We had known each other since childhood. We were completely different since then pretty much, but had come close through our mutual tendency to resist and question social norms. She came from a conservative religious background. Even though our ethics and interpretations for existence clashed quite often and occasionally quite violently, we kept up our friendship due to mutual appreciation for the ideological solidity and consistency we saw in each other and helped reinforce our own personal faith in stuff. We were basically together to disagree and our relationship had grown loving and supportive through the years. These kinds of friendships often develop between people of different religions or political ideologies and rather than creating cracks in people’s beliefs, the respect in which they’re based, helps in testing new ideas along the lines of each person’s respective ideology, empowering the former. The relationship stems from the firm belief of each person that the other is somewhat damaged or profoundly traumatised and thus has come to support the ideology they do. Each party secretly hopes that one day the ultimate vindication will come to clarify things for all humanity, their ideology will become a popular belief and wrongs will be put to right and all this will be embodied in that one other person’s embrace of the opposite ideology.
I was at a certain stuck point in my life at the time and she had taken up a new job in PR for a cultural centre. She was really passionate about her new job, whilst I was an unemployed single mother, a bit heartbroken after a major punch-in-the-face-type breakup. I often got the feeling she bared with my tireless and anxious chatting on social media because it gave her some insight into the frustrated state of the world during the great EU depression. So I continued the whining and she continued to bare with me and occasionally reply. Her replies should have seemed suspicious, but I was too self-absorbed to notice. Another warning sign was that I hardly ever saw her, our entire communication being through social media and when I did, her eyes periodically and calmly, as if following a protocol, scanned through the screen of her iphone, where new messages kept appearing, in their majority work-related.
One bright spring morning, sipping coffee in my frustrated heartbroken jobless nihilist state of eternal darkness, as I opened facebook to read the latest news or about someone else’s dramatic and desperate state, I noticed she had posted something peculiar. She had saved a stray cat, having fallen in a pile of lime and after full recovery she had shipped it over to a loving family in Holland. It came as a surprise, as she had never mentioned anything and what was more, she was allergic to cats.
I dropped her a line to confirm that what I had read was indeed true and it was. When I questioned her about her allergy she asserted that she had never been allergic to cats. I was pretty certain that she had mentioned her allergy a number of times in the past, but anyway it seemed unimportant. We were chatting casually and as always I was playfully critical of her poor choices in pets (implying some kind of relatedness to her logic in choosing mates) and was describing a time during childhood, at which she proudly fed a small group of pigeons, which kept coming back to her window, until the point when her family moved out of that flat.
Her reply to that story came as a second shock. She told me coldly and firmly that she had never fed any pigeons. I didn’t know what to say, as I distinctively remember visiting her house and seeing one of the pigeons, which was in fact limping. I dropped the conversation altogether and went about my daily chores as miserably as ever, disturbed by the bright sun illuminating the depths of my misery further.
At lunch time, a relatively relaxing time of affirmation in whatever concerns my cooking skills, it hit me that something wasn’t right. A person defined by their consistency and loyalty was not likely to suffer memory loss and my memory seemed to be fine, unless I was deluding myself, but that’s a risk we always have to take. I started considering her recent dedication to her job, without any of the former complaints for tiredness and frustration. She seemed composed and certain of something very mysterious, which I never asked about, since I didn’t want to impose on her work, especially during her free time. Her commitment to her work seemed to be increasing dis-proportionally to her ability to feel affection or relate to her past or other humans, not involved in her work-life. Her heroic effort to save a cat seemed like the perfect diversion, diverting from real intimacy, real give-take exchange without raising any suspicion.
She was transitioning into a cyborg! Was it a voluntary choice sacrificing herself for the greater good or for a particular noble cause, or was she one of many cyborgs designed to serve someone or something? Another thought that crossed my mind was that it may be a sexual vice or new orientation, originating in Japan or South Korea or something.
We met for coffee a week later. We kissed upon meeting in the entrance of the park in our usual warm lady-like manner. She looked particularly pale, but also more carefree than I had remembered her. We grabbed a coffee from the canteen and sat down. I am not great with confrontations, in fact I dread them, so I tried to approach the subject of her weird behaviour as effectively but indirectly as possible. However, I did turn on my mobile phone recorder just before we sat, just to make sure I can analyse all the data afterwards.
Me. So what a lovely day, how have you been? How’s work going? I asked
Her. Oh god, I have so much work, as always. But you know I have come to this conclusion: Every day, once a day, give yourself a present, don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen.
Me. Hmmm what good advice, yeah I guess you’re right… (contemplating)
Her. Hey! Would you like some pie?
Me. Errr, naaa thanks, I’m ok with the coffee.
Her. I wish you had replied “massive quantities”, but anyway the truth is I only have time for coffee.
Me. Oh god yeah sure, I understand, you’re heading to work afterwards I suppose. Sure! So how’s the sex life going? Any new interesting guys?
Her. Well you know, there is someone, he’s from work, he’s called Log.
Me. Haha, what a funny name, where his parents hippies?
Her. One day Log will have something to say about that… (she answered coldly and my blood froze, but I tried to remain calm)
Me. Ok right, so they’re not I guess. So has anything happened between you two? What’s he like? Can I meet him?
Her. I don’t introduce Log… but yeah, only there’s one problem with him, he’s perfect. The only thing I fear sometimes is that my love will not be enough.
Me. I’m a bit worried about you, you know I love you, right?
Her. Yes, I get that, you must think I’m a little strange, but you know, there are things dark and heinous in this world.
Me. …. (staring blankly at the universe)
Her. Food is interesting…
Me. It is isn’t it? But really what’s up with the cat business?
Her. We’re going to need some more coffee…
Me. No, honestly, I think it’s great that you saved that cat, but I just think sometimes I don’t even know you…
Her. I have some emotional problems, I guess, it runs in the family.
Me. Oh that’s a relief, you do acknowledge the phase you’re going through is to some degree weird then?
Her. I’ll see you again in 25 years, she exclaimed, got up and left me watching her in awe.
When I got home I didn’t know what to think. I was upset and worried, but then again I had to keep it together. I sat on the sofa feeling exhausted and disheartened by the fact I couldn’t get any real information about what was going on. I started thinking that it is possible I was starting to loose it and possibly that I had illusions. Then I remembered that the whole conversation had been recorded. So I transferred it to my computer to have a better listen and see if there was something I was missing.
That afternoon I replayed that conversation a hundred times possibly, but there didn’t seem to be any hidden message or anything, just some level of absurdity, but even about that I couldn’t be completely conclusive. Finally, I entered the conversation in google search, thinking there probably wouldn’t be a single hit that would make sense and then something strange happened… all the results I got indicated one thing, everything she had said that morning were actually quotes from Twin Peaks. I was amazed! All her life it had been her favourite show. How did I not see it before?
She was transitioning into a cyborg of a surreal artificial intelligence sort.
That was the beginning of everything, humanity had enough cultural history to reach a dead-end finally and someone was using this to turn humans into cyborgs, voluntarily, quite likely and in an aesthetically pleasing way for their previous personalities.
Then I remembered her last words “I’ll see you again in 25 years”… Could it be that humanity in its entirety will have transitioned into a cyborg society within the next 25 years?