fiction, personal, thoughts

on the future, GPSing our grief and living in the past

The future is just a second away.

Two thoughts.

Thought #1

One day in the future, not too far away, we will have GPS dots. Buy them in bulk. Put them on anything worth more than a few dollars. Your phone. Your laptop. Your keys. Your dog.

Log in and find out where they are. Locate your missing keys. Follow your laptop through the streets of Melbourne on the back seat of a thief’s car. From your work computer, watch your dog, a little blue dot, leap the fence and wander down the street. As you run to your office door, turn back and see the blue dot meet the line that is Punt Road and stop moving.

You drive, fighting back tears and checking your phone but it doesn’t move again. When you arrive your dot becomes your dog and your dog becomes your dead dog and you take him home and you bury him in the garden and you move house and you get a cat and, in time, she dies in your arms and you bury her under the peach tree in your Northcote share-house and pets come and go and so do you, one suburb to the next until the city is crisscrossed with your movements and the suburbs pulse with your little blue dots, now buried underground. They blink like satellites beneath sixty centimeters of dirt, from the roots of gnarled peach trees: a map of grief and joy and guilt and anti-histamines and unconditional love that you carry in your pocket forever.


Thought #2

Today scientists are trying to grow you a new heart. And a new liver. A kidney. A lung. They observe the future under a microscope. A future in which, when you are suffering – when you need a new body part – they will take some of your cells and grow what you need: organs, created for your biological specifications.

What will these future people think of us when they hear that we once waited for strangers to die so that we could fill our desperate bodies with parts of theirs? That we died waiting for others to die because the grim reaper could not keep up with our demand? Will they think us barbaric, for craving that motorbike crash or that life support button being flicked? Or will they hear of the fathers signing over their son’s organs and swell with pride that someone, in the depths of their grief, would save the life of another child? I think they will twist their minds inside out, trying to comprehend a memorial service for a man whose heart beats on in a different chest; anniversaries passing as that heart hammers away. In history class, I think they will turn to each other and pose the question: cells die and re-generate so when does a heart stop being my child’s and start being yours?

Oh we who stagger about in this dark, terrible past, what brave creatures we must be. Saints and martyrs and warriors all.


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