Everyday that I wake up, I forget where I am, just for a moment. I forget all that has happened in the past few years, all that I have lost. All that I face every single time I leave my bed. For that small, desperate second, I feel peace.
Sometimes I wake up with my eyes still closed, and believe that when I open them, I will find my husband lying next to me, his broad muscular back facing me, steady with his sleepy breaths. Sun would be curling in from the slats in the blinds, illuminating the dust particles dancing through the air, and I would turn into the warmth. Days like those would usually end up with coffee-flavored kisses, followed by lazy love making in our bed. Oh, how I long for those days - how I beg and plead that when I opened my eyes, I would find such a scene before me, and all of this will have been a nightmare. All the death, and destruction, and war, and imprisonment under false God given rights didn't happen. At least, not during my lifetime.
And then I open my eyes.
And he's not there. No one is.
So this is, in fact, real.
The room I currently inhabit is all grey. Gray painted walls, gray comforter covering lighter gray sheets. The floors are a light wood, but the area rug that covers it is gray. The clothes they have issued me are gray. I think the color is supposed to make me less appealing to those around me. It is in man's nature to want, they told me. It is up to you to let them know you are not for them to want. I should have told them they were wrong. After all, gray was always a flattering color on me. And men would always want what they couldn't have. But I wasn't fond of being tased, and that's what any backtalking would award me.
I slip out of my charcoal bed, clothed in my long gray nightgown, slipping on my matching bathrobe and slippers. Just outside of my door is a tray, left for me by the maids, filled with approved foods for women to eat. Believe it or not, it differs from what the men are allowed to eat. Despite my current position, they want me to eat food that would promote health. Fertility. But I can't get into that right now.
They've left me oatmeal, and a hot beverage. Luckily, it's not plain today. I must be in the good graces of the cook, for she's added milk and berries. Instead of tea, I've been awarded coffee, a rarity. We're in the household of a high ranking official, so we get it more than others. Thank fuck for that.
Cherishing my breakfast, the only meal I get in solitude, I sit on the slate colored rug and read one of the books I've been allotted this month. They've allowed me Jane Eyre. Pompous fucks that they are, I've been on good behavior. I've been given something written by a woman, which is rare. They usually don't like to encourage acts of individualism such as writing. Those days are long gone. Instead of writing, why not study our bible? Why not take care of the household? Why not sew, or garden, or knit, or some other trivial bullshit deemed soft enough for us women?
I suppose I'm lucky in some regard - I'm one of very few women who were allowed to keep a job, so I'm not forced to needle-pointe every day. Unbeknownst to me, my father was a very high profile figure in the uprising, which led to me getting a decent position, even after he was killed. May he burn in hell.
In the Before, I ran a few of his business that he ceased to care for, and had taken over as CEO of a technology firm in addition to the family efforts. When they began to overtake female-run businesses, I was forcibly removed from the building of my tech firm, and made to sign it all back over to my father and brothers. Now, I was assigned to be the "personal assistant" to a Senior General of the New America. It mostly involved fetching his meals and drinks, and the occasional transcribing or note taking. It was quite demeaning to be moved from CEO to the personal assistant of a facist, but I was alive. And that's what mattered right now.
Working for this Senior General is to my benefit. At times, he wants me in ways more personal than is allowed in the New America. His fondness for me makes him loose lipped, and I like to take advantage of that. Most of the time, he allows me to stay in the room during important meetings, thinking me more of an accessory, an ash-colored statue with the curves they enjoy. They like to look at me, so young and fresh compared to their wives. They mistakenly believe me to be docile and loyal, but I'm gathering. I listen and listen and then I wait. One day, the time will come for me to use this information against them. For now, I'm biding my time.
At the conclusion of my breakfast, I dress for my day from my prescribed wardrobe of gray dresses. No more pants for me. No more pants for any woman here. Today is quite overcast, so I choose a long sleeve turtleneck sweater dress. It's loose enough that they allow me to wear it, but still flattering enough that it will satisfy the Senior General. I am still allowed heels, although I must wear nude stockings and my toes must be covered. I'm not sure why. Perhaps to protect my virtue from foot fetishists. Perhaps they don't know why either.
Hot tools have been banned, so I'm stuck with my natural wave pattern. They force us to wear our hair up, however, so I slick it back into a low bun. Must hide beautiful hair from the men, too. What a silly, sadistic life these men have made for themselves. Deprive themselves of these things, only to lust after them with a renewed sense of urgent interest. Only to sneak around and demand it from women anyway, after they've stripped these women of any power.
Makeup is also banned. It is a black market item you occasionally see a Wife with, but never a Gray Woman. They allow me the simple vanities of lotion and Vaseline for my lips. I'm allowed some oils when I bathe, but that is it. Usually, I use the oil on my eyebrows to groom them, and on my lashes to soften them. Luckily they're naturally very dark and thick. No need for mascara. The Wife of this Senior General has very sparse, wiry blonde lashes. So I suppose I'm lucky.
I'm supposed to report downstairs soon, to my professional duties, but I stop for a moment and make my bed, then kneel beside it. I fold my hands on the bedspread. To anyone else, it would appear as if I'm praying. And perhaps I am, but not to any higher deity. No, I'm praying to my husband, wherever he is. I have no way of knowing if he's even alive or not, but I choose to believe he is. He was always smarter than me, especially at surviving. So, I recite the words that I need him to hear. I picture his brilliant green eyes, his brown-bronze hair, his stubbled jaw.
I promise I'll find you.
I'll get out of here and I'll find you.
I'll do whatever I have to.
Please just don't hold it against me.
I love you.
A/N: Should I continue?