Jerry leaves his humanity behind
Jerry stood at the intersection of Mobile Street and 2nd Avenue. It was late November. He could see his breath in the crisp Northern Mississippi morning. He looked across the street at the burned ruins of Mr. Wesson’s store, still a hole in the ground since it burned last year. He’d told his mother he would move away to live near Tupelo. She hoped he would stay here in Saltillo, and marry a local girl. She wanted him nearby.
He neglected to tell her that he would no longer age, that he would never marry or have children. He didn’t tell her that in fifteen years, he would stage his own death, or that he would go away and begin his own missions.
She would be dead by then. She wouldn’t live to see the death of her only child.
He observed traffic passing in front of him like a stranger, as if, rather than standing in the town where he’d lived his whole life, he was standing on a planet in a distant star system.
All that was familiar was now foreign. He had alien memories. The downloads gave him recollections of a life at Mussara, the Tayamni home world, a moon in what humans called the Pleiades, but what his, “yes,” he sighed with the regret of losing his former life. “My people.” He looked at the burned-out hole where Mr. Wesson’s store had collapsed, feeling as if it would swallow him. “My people call it Tayamni-Pa.”
He looked up at a school bus, transporting children to the county school. He saw it was school bus number 36. The following year, this very bus would take Denny to school. Looking down at the cracked sidewalk, he realized Batresh would leave soon. She would travel back to her home at 3800 BCE, in ancient Egypt. She would be there with her Primary, her mate. “He might as well be her husband,” he thought to himself.
The thought of Batresh being with with another man, a man she loved more than him, caused his stomach to churn. He felt as if he would vomit, right here on Mobile Street. He knew how the Matriarchal Tayamni people, his people, saw relationships. Monogamy was Patriarchal. He knew he shouldn’t feel ownership. He shouldn’t feel that she belonged to him. But, he did. They told him these feelings would pass. But, for now, they tortured him. She was available to him. He knew that she loved him. She would make love with him, if he wanted. But, he had to share her with another man. He couldn’t. Not now. He looked at the hole in the ground, trying not to remember.
He crossed Mobile Street, walking north towards his house. He realized he would not own anything, no property, no woman, nothing. It was not the Tayamni way. Everything was owned by the collective. Monogamy was a vestige of an unevolved past. In his new world, men were equal to women. It was the only way to keep violence and war in check. If testosterone raised its ugly head, the offending male would be sent for additional training. He understood. It made sense to him. He realized women should be equal. Women were peaceful, nurturing. It was men who brought violence. Wild, testosterone fueled behavior must be discouraged. The confident, respectful nature of men must be allowed to be dominant.
Try as he might, his thoughts were never far. He knew she would be gone for, what was for her, two weeks. Then, she would travel ahead of him, ahead from where he lived now, to the future, to 1977, at St. Louis. If Jerry saw her again, it would be 15 years for him, but only two weeks for her.
It was funny that she was most worried about the cold winter. He laughed to himself, wishing that was all he had to worry about. He would watch over Denny. He would befriend Eddie, Denny’s violent father, and keep his eye on the effeminate, young boy. “Who knew,” he thought to himself, “who knew that the great project of his life for the next decade would be to protect a sissy boy from his macho Daddy.” He thought of Eddie and felt sick again. That man didn’t deserve his innocent wife. He didn’t deserve to have such a good child, such an obedient son who wanted nothing more than his father’s love. But, Denny would survive. He would be emotionally scarred, but he would survive. Jerry would see to that.
As he approached the house, he saw workmen were already packing his belongings. After today, he would live with Batresh, until she returned to Ancient Egypt. He would become a diplomat, the Tayamni Ambassador, to NASA and to humanity. His eyes widened thinking of how much his life had changed in two months.
He didn’t feel human.
In leaving the only home he had known, he felt he was leaving his humanity behind.