Synaesthesia Magazine Science & Numbers - Page 37

be less valuable than real ones, when all our behaviour’s just neurotic anyway? You’re the ones who’ve got it right.” And I shock myself with my next words: “I want to be perfect like you.”

“You regret your parents’ decision to have organic children?”

And now it comes, what I wasn’t even expecting. I’ve started to cry.

I nod against his chest.

“So if you can’t be genetically ideal, you’d like to be emotionally ideal.”

“I’ve seen how you come out of the labs, in those plastic bags, and it’s not ok. I want you to know that I think it’s disgusting that they treat you like that.”

“They’re no different from amniotic sacs.”

“They are, because they’re all identical. Like they think you’re just a machine and it doesn’t matter. But you are an individual. You came out like the others of that factory line, but since then your experiences have made you each different.”

I hold his eyes vehemently, even though I’ve made my point, because I want him to understand me.

Finally he says, “Your argument is reductionist too.”

“But in your favour. Doesn’t that make a difference?”

“Perhaps it’s just reverse prejudice.”

“Like idealism is just as dehumanising as objectification?”

He nods.

“But then how can I love you?” I sigh. “How can I get you to understand?”

“An emotion that I, myself, can never feel?”

It’s a rhetorical question, but I’m obstinate. “I’ll find out how to do it.”

“You mean you’ll make me love you eventually?”

“No, I mean that I’ll manage to love you despite that. I’ll figure out a way to not be hurt and to not mind the constant paradox.”


“I’ve said it before, it’s the next step in our evolution. If we can love you–”

“–Then you can love anything?”

“Then we’ll finally be pure.”

He sighs, as if he really cares about the outcome. It won’t make any difference to him whether I succeed or not, so why does it matter to me? I sigh, too, and look at what I’m doing, the truth of it. If I’m honest with myself, what will I achieve by this?

I look and I see the reason behind it, staring right back at me.

It will hurt my father.

He’ll be hurt when he sees he’s been replaced by a better version of himself. He chose organicism for me, but I’ve chosen a mate that’s entirely designed. And the next time he raises his hand, David will break it without even trying.

I nestle against him and close my eyes. He’s anticipated my request and begun to breathe.

He says, “‘I rest so contentedly, now, in my bed, with her love at my breast, that you fancy me dead, that you shudder to look at me, thinking me dead.’”

I can feel the vibrations of his voice as he speaks. All that's missing now, my darling, is the sound of your heart.

After twenty years as a poet, Ankur van der Woude moved to Melbourne & began writing erotic fiction and fantasy novels. His short stories appear in Little Raven Two and Little Raven Three. Read more at

Ankur van der Woude, courtesy of Michael Cooper