"So this is what it's like"-By Rose Hustle

I am covered in sweat. My breath is ragged. I have never felt more exhausted. I have never felt more content. Funny, I would have felt absolutely nothing before. I used to be a drone. I was a living human being sans the human part. My whole life was wrapped up in duty, logic, and bureaucratic policies. I never knew I was being kept an emotionless automaton for Father's evil plans of infinite power. I never knew that all the emotions that I was fighting against were the same ones that would give my life meaning.

These last few months have felt like an awakening from some deep terrible coma. I am thirty-three years old and I am playing catch up in terms of my emotions. At first, it was overwhelming the amount of emotion I could feel through a course of a day. I would awake and see the sun. My heart felt like it would break through my chest at the sight. I have discovered that I am quite effected by the beauties of nature. For instance, it is fall, and the trees red golden leaves comfort me somehow. The cool breeze that always seems to muss my hair is a refreshing change from the stale air in my small living quarters. I have also started to notice the migration of the birds and awake brighter when I hear them singing outside my window. Nature has become a friend to me.

Lately, I am the most content when I am sitting in front of the window watching the stars. My children have joined me in this ritual. I am glad that we have become a real family. My son cried when he saw a dead bird on the street. I was sad, but he was very effected as if he were the bird. I think it will take some time for each of us to balance our reactions. We are vulnerable now, but much stronger too. I, for one, know that I am better now than I was.

Right now, it is like I'm a newborn child experiencing the sensation of light for the first time after so many months of my mother's dark womb. Everything is so powerful and amazing that I sometimes think I will be consumed. Consumed is the most suitable word to use at this point in my development. The large events and the most trivial can send me into a contemplation that I can stay in for hours. However, most recently my thoughts have centered on an emotion that I had never experienced fully or freely; the love for a woman.

Without the drugs to numb my emotional senses, I have begun to finally see the people around me, most specifically the women. There are many attractive women in this city with features that draw one's attention, but there is one that has stood out more than any other, Ava. She is a nurse at the Center. She had mended many of my cuts and bruises over the years. We never really talked. Our exchanges were business-like in manner. It wasn't until two months ago when I saw her giving first aid to resistance members that I finally recognized the beauty she is.

Her eyes are the darkest brown, and her hair seems to go on forever as it reaches past her waist. She wears it in a ponytail but it flows nonetheless. Her lips are like the petals of a flower that doesn't exist anywhere but in my dreams. As for her body, well I had never thought about a woman's body before, but now I can see why Father wanted to keep us under control. The mere curve of her hips or the slight cleavage of her breasts can awaken a primal need in me that is almost scary. My body responds to this too. I found books that explain what is happening physically. As for my heart, well, it is knotted with anxiety.

Thus, I began finding ways to run in to her. I would suddenly come down with a cold or have an unexplainable ache that I desperately needed her to look at. She never questioned my sincerity. We started to make small talk. She told me how grateful she was to me for ending Father's rule, for giving her a chance to feel. I told her I should be thanking her for being such wonderful company. She smiled, and I could tell her face was more flushed. Eventually, after many meetings, I asked her to go for a walk with me. She looked stunned and nervous but decided to join me.

As we walked, she told me about how she had started to notice how good certain foods taste and how beautiful the sky is before the dawn. She told me about dreams she started to have about her mother and father. They both were 'processed' for sense offense. She told me how much she missed them and how glad she was to still feel connected to them after all these years of stifled emotion. Then she told me how she had been thinking about me too. Her mind was filled with daydreams of my lips on hers and my hands caressing her waist. She turned to me and asked if I thought about her too.

I stared back at her for a long time unsure of how to respond. The wind moved a stray hair in her eyes. I tucked the loose strand behind her ear. My eyes were suddenly unable to look away from hers. The next thing I felt was her soft fleshy mouth against mine. I had never fully kissed a woman until that moment, and I knew that I would never live without that sensation again. Since then we have become inseparable. When we aren't aiding the resistance or helping to rebuild areas of the city we are at her home getting to understand each other emotionally, intellectually, and as of a few moments ago, physically.

Like I said, I feel the most exhausted and the most content right now. She has shared herself with me in a way that neither of us has ever known. We have only just begun to understand what feels pleasurable and what doesn't, but I have never felt as loved as I do with her lying naked against my chest. Her eyes are closed but I can tell by her breathing that she is still awake. The sensation of her scent and silky skin mingling with my own sends my urges in to overdrive. I want her again and again and again. I want her until I know that we have felt the ultimate pleasure. I never knew it would be this good. I would have never noticed her the way that I once was. I love her. I love her the way I should have loved my wife. Inside I can feel a sense of release, a sense of peace. I think my children will like her. I hope that they do. I don't know how or why but I will live for this woman. I will die for this woman. I can't explain it, but I belong to her now. She belongs to me.