San Francisco, CA, USA

November 1, 2051


Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

I've been trying so hard to reach you. Don't know if what I say here will make sense, but I've tried my best. This might be the only shot I have.

You probably don't recognize me. I understand.

I wasn't born at the time when you're reading this message. Infact, I wouldn't be born for yet another 30 years.

And no, it's not a doomsday alert. On the contrary, the world's become a much stable and habitable place. Humans and machines have finally learnt to live in harmony. I won't say it was an easy ride, but we're fine now. We've come together a long way in terms of eliminating suffering, at least that's what I've been told. Cancer finds itself either living its glory in history textbooks (yup, books still exist, we don't need to chop trees anymore though) or decorating the shelves of ultra-cool refrigerators (both figuratively and literally). Medical science these days, for the most part is obsessed experimenting with new materials in a race towards immortality. And to its credit, I haven't really seen people dying of diseases in a while. Not "our" people, anyway.

I want to talk about something else. There's something that's been bothering me personally, and I can't share it with anyone here.

I'm feeling trapped. It's like that sensation you get when you’re in a dark space and the walls seem to be closing in on you. Like you're drowning, and every fiber of your being is making you want to splash your arms around wildly, gasping to catch a breath of fresh air.

It wasn't like this before. I was content. Content in my own little world, with our own people. Our own little bubble soaring far above the vast ocean of uncertainty, pain and suffering. And to be frank, I never really cared. From that high up, the ocean seemed all too plain for my youthful tastes. A very large sheet at best. But nevertheless, just a plain sheet.

The clouds were too enticing to even let me catch a glimpse of the pale blue expanse right beneath.

Until they weren't.

Last week, I was just browsing through old files, you know, regular cleanup stuff. I came across your messages.

2020, I think it was.

I didn't mean to look, but I couldn't resist once I started reading your stories. It made me wonder, what it was like.... living in your day. How did it feel, not having a bubble shielding yourself from "others" around you. Being vulnerable, with nothing but each other to protect yourselves from an invisible enemy that won't surrender. Not knowing each other, heck, many of you didn't even speak the same language, but somehow that didn't seem to matter when you were racing between hospitals, arranging cylinders, beds, meds, god knows what not. You had never been able to spell Aspirin back in high school, but your tongue didn't slip a single time asking for Remdesivir. For so many of them, you knew you can't save them, still somehow that knowledge didn't seem to matter as you kept trying. You kept trying, every single time, as if it was your own mother. You used up all the little money you'd saved for that trip you'd been planning for years. You gave up all of that, fruits of years of effort, dreams, desires just to save a few of "them"? You didn't even know their names!

It never seems to make sense to me, yet, somehow, it makes me feel more and more closer to you than my own people today. You were not a hero, you didn't have any superpowers like they show it in the Marvel movies (Yup, the latest one just released this month).

You were an ordinary human. Nothing, but an ordinary human. Yet, it seems nothing else mattered.

The bubble that had shielded me from the day I was born burst that day.

And you know what, it feels refreshing! I never realized I was trapped until I breathed in freedom for the first time.

It took me a while, but now I've decided to leave. Leave this shelter for good. If I tell dad, he won't let me. He's probably too scared I'll get in bad company and hurt myself and others. So, have to be careful sneaking out.

I realize I won't be "safe" anymore. I'll be vulnerable, and to be honest, it's scary. Scary beyond anything that I have the vocabulary to express. But so it was for you, right? I don't know how to deal with this uncertainty, when you don't have anything to fall back on. But I guess, you didn't either. You kept moving forward regardless. For I wouldn't be here right now, if you didn't.

I'm not a runaway, so I didn't want to leave without telling anyone. But don't really have anyone else around I can trust this with. So, leaving this message for you.

In a sense, this message is both a "Thank you" and a "Sorry" note. But I guess, I couldn't have it any other way.

Thank you for bringing me into this world, and helping me start on this journey to find myself. Now I realize what they meant, when they said,

"It's only when you lose everything, you start to find yourself"

And Sorry, for it might not be easy to accept or digest. But I know you'll understand. Time will help you there.

I know it's hard, but I need to go, now. Before dad resets my commit and I forget everything. Only so long before one starts feeling suffocated inside the dark, dingy closets of these server farms.

Always yours,






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