As I look at the mirror I see myself in my favorite pink dress slim, with a high neckline. I was given the dress to wear on my birthday last year as a present. It is a happy dress. Today it’s not. It looks worn, the pink has faded. It’s a dress for grieving. I hear my mum yelling out to my younger brother hurrying him to put on his dress shoes. My father opens my door and peers in. He is wearing a dark suit with his business shoes. When he sees how sad I am, he takes long strides over to embrace me. He as well is also very sad on this day. Today will be the last day of his father’s life. My grandfather’s life.
It’s been like this for as long as I can remember. On your 80th birthday a worker sent from the government walks into your room and escorts you into the doctor halls and injects blue serum into your arm. The serum puts you to death. When the person is dead they take the body and cremate it, spreading the ashes into the earth outside. The worker then returns to the dead person’s room and strips the room of any personal belongings or objects to show that a previous life has been there.
My father and I walk out into the hallway greeted by my mother and my younger brother Alessandro holding hands. Ale has always needed someone to be there to hold him up. I think today he especially needs someone supporting him. We walk down our short hallway with grey painted walls. No photos or artworks are hung in the hallway or our sleeping quarters.
We walk down out the door and into the corridor which connects all the families’ quarters together. We walk along the dark and cold corridor. I’ve always been cold as long as we’ve been stuck in here. I remember the last day outside we had. We went down to the lake and had a picnic with grandad and grandma. I yearn for the sun on my back now to warm me up.
We were put inside these walls to protect us, to stop over population. The government needed to do something, so they decided to cull out everybody over the age of 80 as they believed they had lived their life to the fullest and could no longer make any more commitments. I remember as a child walking out into the street holding my mother’s hand on one side and my fathers on the other. We had to keep close. All the thousands of people would push and shove to get to different places. People swarming everywhere.
As we arrive at Grandad’s door I see my Dad sigh and hesitate on the door handle. He slowly grips it and turns it. We all peer in to see my Grandad sitting on top of his made bed in freshly ironed clean clothes. Grandad has always been neat and precise. “Well happy birthday to me.” Grandad says with a half-smile on his lips.
Dad walks over and hugs him. He holds the hug a little bit tighter and longer than normal. Everyone slowly walks up and hugs grandad gently as if he is a fragile flower in their hands. It my turn. As I walk up to him he mouths my name. As I...