Image: Freeimages.com/Dawson Toth
I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. "Ten, nine, eight, seven..."
Seated at the throne, I waited. As my heart counted down to zero, I could see his familiar silhouette reach the door. I rose up from the throne, my heart fluttering in anticipation.
There he stood, the full moon shining behind him. As tears welled up in his big, black, deep eyes that had always looked straight at my heart, I could feel tears stream down my cheeks as well. Was this our moment of union? I hoped.
From the moment that our eyes had seen through each other, nearly six months back, I knew our lives would never be the same again. He was the head of the Decisions Support Group of his organization that had come for a panel discussion to our university. I was in the panel as a Doctorate student of Management Studies. My thesis was studying the comparative effects of robotic humans with bee DNAs vs. organic humans with higher aptitude towards management, in setting up organizations.
As I started to speak, I could sense his eyes look at me. It was a closed discussion with 20 people in the room. Five thesis students, five professors and 10 guests from various industries, some heads of Decision Support Groups of various organizations and some directors of businesses. We were all seated across a round glass table in a steel gray conference room fitted with gadgetry to assess mood and provide audio and video assistance without interference. Basically, all gadgets were pinholes and technology in the room was designed for non-interference.
Don’t know what it was about him: his body language, his eyes or his clothes that caused my heart to flutter? As I spoke, he looked me straight in the eye; his big, black, deep eyes penetrating mine, as though looking straight into my heart. With nothing between us obstructing my view, I had to steal my eyes away and look at my memory capsule in the pretext of referring to my notes.
“Ugh! Can he sense my excitement” I gritted under my teeth, though not without a flutter in my belly.
I guess he could. From the corner of my eye I could see him smile.
“Was I so transparent? No, not possible; he’s smiling at something else,” I hoped.
As I finished my talk, he seemed to have a lot of questions for me and I was excited to answer, to talk to him. “Could he sense that as well? I hope not.”
That evening, as I worked on my thesis, I got a call from GlobeTech Solutions, where big-eyed Mr. Liam Saul worked. GlobeTech Solutions was the leading technology organization and had introduced the world to memory capsules in the early years of 2550. Hundred years on, and memory capsules were still being used as the primary device for information manipulation across the globe.
Memory capsules can store information about all aspects of our brains. For instance, my memory capsule maps my brain and I can manipulate it externally according to my requirements and security settings. I had been fascinated by technology as a child and it had been my dream to work in this organization.
Of course, as a bee person I was more inclined to be a team manager and not a scientist, but at least I would get to work around technology.
I was ecstatic when I got the call to join their Decisions Support Group. “Whoa! Does that mean I will be working with Mr. Big Black Deep Eyes?”
It seems, Mr. Big Black Deep Eyes had been pretty impressed with my paper presentation and wanted to interview me for a team role. At nearly 18 years of age, mine was quite a feat. Most bee people would complete their Ph.D. by 25 or 30 years of age, but not me. I had always been a gifted child, and had been kept protected and fed royal jelly.
When my parents, who were natural team managers, wanted to have a baby, they tried. Unfortunately, natural means did not work for them and they decided to go in for artificial insemination, the most popular alternative of the time. This opened up the advantage of being able to select a DNA for their offspring. Since they were naturally inclined towards team management, they selected a bee DNA. And so, I was to be a bee person.
Yes, they were ambitious and wanted me to head their Technology Solutions Company. But, that was the norm in the 26th century. Most people selected the DNA that best matched their natural traits to create children who were exceptional.
We, bee people, looked pretty much like normal people, albeit with a slight tan and slightly bigger eyes. Thus, with me born as a bee person our family joined a hive of bee people.
Within two years of my birth, it became obvious that I was gifted over and above the DNA selection. Consequently, the hive started feeding me royal jelly preparing me to be their queen. On my 18th birthday, later this year, I would be crowned Queen Bee of our hive.
The hive was a magical community of bonhomie and brotherhood, always buzzing with activity. Needless to say, it was immensely organized with each family following through its roles with dedication. For the outside world, it looked like a close-knit neighbourhood of organic families living their lives in their own houses. However, it was the organized approach to community living that proved it was a hive. Each member of the hive had a duty towards the community and towards building up the financial resources of the community. We cared for the sick and the elderly as a community, we created food and resources for the community. There were strict documentation and accounts maintained for community resources and everyone followed protocol. Even my parents, who were not really bee people, followed protocol because they were now part of the hive.
The difference also lay in the cycle of our lives. The queen bee was expected to play her role of mating with the drones and procreating and building the community. A queen bee was expected to have at least 10 children. As queen bee, I had to pay my due to the royal jelly and I intended to, albeit post my coronation.
It was at this stage in life, that I got a call for a discussion with Liam Saul at GlobeTech Solutions. I trudged over to GlobeTech Solutions excitedly, the next morning, waited nervously outside his room. When I entered, he was working on his memory capsule in his pristine white room. One look at Liam Saul and I could feel my knees weaken.
The smirk on his face did nothing to boost my confidence. “Can he see what I feel?” “Why does he have that stupid smirk permanently plastered to his face, ugh!”
“How have you been, Hannah?”
“So, he remembers my name!” I was ecstatic. And, then, I saw my profile displayed on the hologram. “Bubble burst! So that’s where he got the name.”
Our discussion began with a few personal questions and then we moved on to discuss my paper. It was a stimulating discussion and we disagreed on many points. He was knowledgeable and wise and backed his arguments with statistics. I was floored by the depth of understanding he possessed on my subject, and we agreed to disagree as we parted. I left GlobeTech Solutions with an offer to work in Liam’s team.
I was beyond myself to have met a handsome intelligent man, who respected me for my intelligence and difference of opinion. There was so much I could learn from him.
My parents were happy when I told them about the work assignment. I was to start work the next day. I was excited. My parents were excited because I would get to master my skills before my coronation, which was a little over six months away.
The coronation was big; a celebration where my hive would crown me queen bee. I would then be expected to mate with drones till I got pregnant. The thing about drone bees is that once they mate, they die. The same goes for drone people, as well. The children would then be brought up by the community. Queen bees are mean and don’t get emotionally attached to the drones. “Did I say mean?”
I was getting jittery, nervous thinking about the coronation. “Would it be fair to the drone, to the children? Would I be able to be mean to the drones?” I felt my heart crush at the thought. “Could my human feelings be superseding my bee instincts?”
“This too shall pass Hannah,” I told myself with renewed confidence in destiny.
My first day at work was comfortable. I would be working with Liam on a research project. Liam was patient, an excellent teacher, mentor and guide. He gave me freedom to think and innovate. I was impressed by his expertise and the humility of his approach. He was all that I could wish for in a mentor. We discussed innovations for hours. Work took over our lunch hours. I realized he was eager to work with me as well, staying back at work to catch up on matters. He often offered to drop me home and the electricity between us was palpable.
On most days, we would also head out for drinks after work. But his taste was different. In fact, we were opposite in most traits. “But perhaps opposites attract!” His taste in music, drinks and recreational activities was different. I was adventurous, he was restrained. Perhaps, it was his maturity that took care of me when I fell, when I stumbled, when I was weak, when I was immature at work. Perhaps, it was my spontaneity that added colour to his life when he was lonely, when he was depressed, when he was hopeless.
But, I could not let him know the effect he had on me, how much I cared, how much I melted in his presence, how much I yearned for his touch.
I was the queen bee. Love was not for me, emotions were not for me, life was not for me, happiness was not for me. I was the leader who was to love a community, but could not love one. I was the leader who had it all, but had none. I was the leader with sand slipping through her fingers.
In acceptance of my destiny, I prepared for my coronation which was nearly at hand. A celebration of my throne; a celebration of my golden cage. The hive was in jubilation, buzzing with activity and preparation.
I reluctantly dragged myself to work each day. My work fell behind and as I solemnly worked late the week before my coronation, Liam was by my side supporting me through it all. He would quietly stay behind at work to help me with simple things that I was no longer able to comprehend. “Why? Why was he doing it? Why did he care so much? Why could he see through me?”
He knew what it meant for me to be crowned queen bee. He knew what I was going through. But he was quiet and restrained in his unceasing support for me. “Why didn’t he say something? Why could he not say, “Hannah, let’s leave everything and go away to a land of our own?” Why could he not say he loved me? I knew he did. Or did he not? Why could I not read him?” I was losing hope.
The day of my coronation was at hand. As the hive prepared for the moment, I felt a ray of hope unknowingly creep into my heart. I don’t know why, but a tiny voice within me said “all was not lost.” A voice of faith in the purity of my love whispered to my heart “hold on Hannah.”
As I sat on the throne, I could feel his presence. He was here. I knew it. That is when I saw his silhouette outside the building. I saw him walk to the door. Our union was now inevitable and no force in the universe could work against our destiny of union.
He walked up to the throne amidst a party of bewildered eyes. A hush fell over the hall as Liam walked up to me and held my hand. “Hannah!” his soft voice, “I am here for you.”
“And, I for you.”
A whispered buzz traveled through the hive. There was commotion in the hall. Some worker bees quickly whisked us away to a room.
I asked the bees to wait outside. “I need to sort this out.”
As I closed the door behind me, Liam walked over, held me close to his heart. I could feel his breath on my cheeks.
“Hannah! I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“What took you so long Liam?”
“Hannah! I am a drone. We can never be together. Our union is only momentary.”
I could feel the earth shift away from under my feet. Why? Oh why did destiny have to do this to me? “Liam, why did destiny pick us?”
But I was not willing to give up. “No Liam, I refuse to give up. We will always be together in life and in death, I promise.”
We went back to the hall, declared Liam’s identity amidst approval and acceptance of him being a drone. After my coronation, Liam and I were escorted to the royal room where we were joined together forever.
We made passionate love. We were joined in union forever. Our love was for eternity. Liam breathed his last but I lived knowing I had our daughter as a sign of our union.
I fulfilled my obligations to the hive, played my role of queen bee. But, my heart was eternally Liam’s.
NOTICE: © 2015 by Donna Abraham
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