Letters From After, Day 4

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Dear Bunky,

Things you think about when you’ve been transported to a re-education camp for wrong thinking and disobeying the rulers’ commands —

I wonder how life would have been different if I’d kept going after the mayor’s daughter instead of falling for a girl with a free spirit and an independent mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming all this on my choices in women, I’m just wondering if I’d be a different person.

I never got where anyone owed me anything. I always just thought since I’d been gifted this life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I’d better just get busy on the pursuing part of the equation, because no one was going to give me happiness on top of everything else. Even the stuff they say is free ain’t free.

When my papa said no, I’m not letting you transfer to another school to follow your girlfriend, what would have happened if I’d said to hell with it, I’m following her anyway? or if I’d said, OK girl, I guess you’ll have to follow me instead of the other way around?

I wonder how much of everything has to do with sex? I’m thinking that the angry old men who run the government want to push their fellow citizens around because they couldn’t get a certain girl to do what they wanted, or the angry old women pass laws forcing people to turn over their hard-earned bucks because some cute guy wouldn’t give them what they wanted? Do you know what I mean, Sigmund, I mean, Bunky?

Why do we give a flaming flamingo about who’s in first place and how many games behind is the home team?

Why do we spend so much time wondering “What if I’d done things differently way back when?” instead of “What if I try this next?”

I wonder why it feels like the end of it all when you’re tossed in a re-education camp. I suppose it IS the end of the old life and we’re all getting fitted for the new normal. Am I allowed to use that phrase, or is “the new normal” a brand for free people? And by free people I mean the folks who are still out there and moving around. I wasn’t seeing many free people the last time I was out there, which seems a long time ago now even if it was less than a week.

I started this letter thinking about how life would have been different if I’d made different choices back in high school, but I wonder how life would have been different if I’d made other choices last year or even last week. What if I had said “no” when they told me everyone was going to have to stay home, and what if I had said “yes” or at least “OK” when they said get in line and submit last week, when I actually said, “Let me think about it” because I was thinking “Nope, no way, no how.” Part of me figures this has been coming a long time, and part of me figures they’re making this up as they go. I want to believe they just came up with this idea, but on the other hand they built this camp and got it all safe, sound and secure before the campers were moved in, which takes a lot more planning than “We are running out of patience and we’re going to have to figure out what to do about that.” This sure doesn’t feel very spur-of-the-moment, but what do I know?

I don’t think there’s an alternate universe where I made different choices and an alternate me is living happily ever after in the mansion with the mayor’s daughter. I think this camp is the singular sum total that came out when I added up my choices. If this is my final destination, I’m disappointed, but it was one hell of a ride to get here, wasn’t it?

And I gotta say again, they do feed us well. Hey, Bunky, maybe the angry old men and women are cannibals from outer space and “To Serve Man” is a recipe book after all. It kind of all makes sense if you see it that way.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

4 thoughts on “Letters From After, Day 4

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