The Night that Forgot to Become Day
by Catalina Florina Florescu
“In the future,” she said and stopped to take a sip from her iced tea matcha, “we will be replaced…,” and here she and he said simultaneously, but so differently.
“Did you say robots?”
“Did you say humans?”
“There’s nothing new in that saying.”
“There’s no sense in yours.”
“Of course, there is. Look around.”
Still seated, he put his palm on his forehead as if looking into the very foggy distance, raised his shoulders, but immediately indicating nothing, metamorphosed his palm into the shape of a pirate telescope, still nothing, turned his body to her and jump from his seat on her lap.
“There’s a human approaching, there’s a human that needs your help.”
“Don’t be silly and get off.”
“But the human needs you.”
“I said in the future. Right now there is no human left.”
“And what are we?”
“Projections from an old movie. Props from a setting.”
Holding her head in his palms, he said, “This is real.”
He kissed her.
“It feels real, doesn’t it?”
“No, it’s scripted. I bet you’d want me to give in and continue this in bed.”
“Or we can do it here, clothes on, shunga-style.”
“We can sing, I could tell you a story, then we order Chinese. All done. All unoriginal.”
“How else could we be one?”
She did not rush to respond.
A silence may sneak in so easily in the crannies of a couple’s anatomy absorbing the space between them and twisting their bodies like a candy wrapper.
“We are done, dear.”
“Are you breaking up with me?”
“Not right now, maybe tomorrow, or in a year. I don’t have the timetable of our departure from us. Why isn’t the body like tracks? Or is it?”
“Are you okay, dear?”
“Yes. I am done, that’s all.”
“Stop saying that word: done, you repeated it already.”
“I wouldn’t know which other word to use for how I feel. I am finished, is that better?”
“I am not sure what’s going on. Let’s take a walk.”
“Did something happen?”
“No. I was just thinking that in the future we would be replaced by humans.”
“Look, if that’s what you want to say, fine. Humans will replace us. Active voice.”
“No, keep it in passive: we will be replaced by humans.”
“I am not sure if you mean you want a different man, a better me, or if we will be replaced gradually or all at once, or the Earth will be wiped off the old humans and, maybe, for decades it will be human-free, I am not sure, I am just saying words I can’t even seem to stop anymore, maybe it’s a disease, am I dying? Am I the first human to be replaced? ‘Human zero’ instead of ‘patient zero’?”
She started to spin.
“Now, this. You spin, I look stupid.”
He stopped her.
“What the fuck is happening?”
“When we are going to be replaced by humans, all history books, mass-produced objects, and brainwashing icons will have been long burned. No one would ever know we existed. The humans replacing us would know of no hate, greediness, or jealousy. They would not have mouth to spew bigotry and other man-made agonies. The fingers would be soft, velvety. Their backs would not be straight. In fact, the spine would be shallow to hold other humans at once, sheltering them there. The eyes would sigh and make all kinds of sounds. There would be no sexual organs to impose and constrict one’s physicality and mind. No marriage to keep them unhappy for years, marionettes caught in between walls.”
“Is this a weird version of Brave New World?”
“The new humans would not get old and munch on paper-like cakes. When it rains, their bodies would start growing wings and dance around during the duration of rain. And they would not die and remain stuck in a frame collecting dust and making people uncomfortable for humans can’t actually remember. Approaching their end, they would sink in the sand.”
“Maybe that would happen.”
“I wouldn’t know. What I can tell you for sure is that we as we know humans right now are done. The hurt that we did to one another, the planet, and the other creatures finally broke us up.”
“Maybe neither Darwin nor God was right. We could not have possibly evolved to reach this level of abject cruelty. We could not have let God intoxicate us with rules that were meant just as a draft of a terrible joke scribbled by a disturbed, delusional creature.”
“Yes, now you have entered my dream. Hold on, so I can I lose myself in you.”
They embraced each other. They did not say another word.
The night was coming to an end and they knew another day would start, but, to their surprise, the night changed its mind. The night forgot to turn into day.
Catalina Florina Florescu was born in Romania. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from University of Bucharest, Romanian Literature (major), American Literature (minor); she holds a Master’s Degree and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Purdue University. She teaches Introduction to Cultural Studies, 21st century Theater for Social Change, American Drama, Critical Writing, The Individual and Society, Romanticism & the Modern World, and Cinema at Pace University in New York City. Her books are in permanent libraries worldwide as well as the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She is the author: Transacting Sites of the Liminal Bodily Spaces (literary criticism; narrative medicine; human body); Disjointed Perspectives on Motherhood (mothers in literature & motion picture; feminist criticism); Inventing Me/Exercitii de retrait (memoir); and Plays. Her fifth book, Transnational Narratives of Englishes in Exile, will be published in 2017 and will be exhibited at the MLA convention, followed up by readings in New York City and Chicago. She delivered papers at Harvard, Sorbonne U, NYU, and other places. Her Scrabble Cancer Poster was at MoMA and at Boston U. She is also working on a collection of short stories, poems, and photographs, “The Night I Burned My Origami Skin” (working tittle). For more information about her work, follow her on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/drflorescu or visit her page, http://www.catalinaflorescu.com/.
Dr. Florescu considers the human body to be the ideal source for inspiration: from its falls, decays, and everything in between. She thinks dark humor is the best alternative to this life’s daily absurdities.