B is for Birth
There was a period of time where there weren’t any births. It was a scary time for Zebulon because they weren’t sure the human race would continue. So, when the first woman was able to carry a baby to full term, there was much rejoicing! Babies are precious to the community, and they embrace all children. Even children who are born with challenges are embraced.
The community raises children together, and some people are responsible for the children’s well being from nutrition to education, but the parents are always allowed to visit their children. The child centers are open for visitation, but children stay with other children so that they learn to socialize and live in groups as they will be expected to forever.
Above you see my description that I wrote based on the extensive questions in The A-Zs of Worldbuilding. Below, you can read an excerpt from Chapter 5 from my novel Exploration.
Remember this (and most) of my posts contain adult content!
I got in front of the microphone, and heard her ask, “Mara, what career would you like to choose?”
I found James’ face in the crowd and focused on him. I couldn’t pick what he had picked. I couldn’t. I was rubbish at food prep. But maybe sewing. I was handy with a needle and thread. We could mentor kids together, maybe. Or no, it didn’t really work that way. Shit.
“Uh,” I said. Lori seemed a bit impatient.
“Mara,” she prompted, her tone a warning.
“Uh, yeah, sorry, I would like to be an actress,” I said.
I didn’t even know where that answer came from. I liked watching TV. I liked the old stuff and the new stuff. But I had never joined in much when the other teens did theater. They were all groomed for theater, and here I was, with no clue what I was doing, saying that I wanted to go into theater.
“Okay, Mara,” Lori said. “And your second choice?”
Shit. Shit, shit, shit. I saw James’ face, and he was looking at me. I wondered for the briefest of moments if I should pick a police officer like James had, but instead, I said Emergency Services.” That was pretty close to being a police officer, but it was more focused on transportation.
“Thank you, Mara,” Lori said, and I knew that I was dismissed to go back to my seat.
When I got there, James put his hand on my knee. I was shaking. “Acting and Emergency Services?” he whispered.
“I had no idea you were interested in either of those things.”
“Me neither,” I whispered back.
He squeezed my knee lightly and then placed his hand back on his own lap.
The rest of the ceremony seemed to drag on forever. I had seen the people that were matched up before, but none of them were my friends or family. None of it made an impression. All I could think was how I had made a fool of myself by not being ready to answer the questions on stage. I knew what the questions were going to be. Of course I knew.
But why did they have to ask me in front of everyone anyway? Why couldn’t we just write it down on paper, and they could just tell us at the ceremony? But I knew why. Part of their evaluation was your presentation. If you were comfortable declaring your choice in front of your community, you had a better chance of being successful than if you declared your intention on paper. It was the same reason they matched people in front of the community. You were less likely to break apart your relationship if you knew the whole community was watching you.
Finally, we were released. My parents found me quickly at the end.
“Mara!” my mother said.
“Hi, Mom,” I said.
“I’ll see you upstairs,” James said, and he slipped off. I wanted to grab his hand and pull him back, but I didn’t.
She questioned my career choices, too, but my dad didn’t say anything at least.
“I don’t know why I said it, Mom, I just did.” I was frustrated, but more at myself than at her, and I was trying not to take it out on her. I knew from my community lessons that I needed to direct my anger appropriately. “Mom,” I said, taking a deep breath, “I can’t take it back now, so can we please drop it?”
She sighed and said, “Yes, of course, Mara.” She put her arm around my shoulders. “I am sure you will be brilliant at whatever the Matchmakers choose for you.”
“Thank you, Mom,” I said.
“Are you coming for dinner tonight?” she asked.
I nodded. It was generally expected that families ate together on Matchmaking Day.
“Pretty soon, we’ll be coming to your place for dinner on Matchmaking Day,” she said with a grin.
“Mom,” I said, exasperated, “I have four more years before I get Matched.”
“It will fly by, just watch,” she said.
I rolled my eyes, but I knew she was right. It felt like just yesterday I was getting my year 16 room assignment, and here I was picking my career two whole years later. “Let’s go, Mom,” I said.
Who is James?
What is this ceremony?
Why doesn’t Mara live with her parents?
Find out all that and in Exploration or come back tomorrow to learn more!