When she comes back she is lugging with her a bag full of clothes and ask me to pick out an outfit. I ask her what the uniform of the city is and brushes it off.
“There is no uniform here for normal citizens. Only special workers wear uniforms.”
A little confused by the lack of uniform, I begin to put something together. I put on some white slacks with a rich blue sleeveless top. When Susan comes back she me hands a black sweater, informing me that we in a cooler area currently and a sweater would be helpful. After I change she introduces me to the guide she prepared.
“Arilyn this is Dillan,” she says as she gestures to the person to her right. He was taller than Susan, but so was I. He had dark brown hair with blue eyes. He was wearing a long sleeved light blue shirt with a black vest over it. The vest was similar to the ones the Security Teams wore back in Quoise City.
“Dillan this is Arilyn.” He looked at me and smiled. I grudgingly smiled back as I knew Susan would get angry again if I didn’t cooperate.
“Good afternoon, Arilyn. I’m pleased to have the ability to be your guide today. Feel free to ask any questions at any point during the trip. I will answer any question no matter how strange you might think it is,” he greeted politely. A little more relaxed he added with a grin, “This place can be overwhelming for newcomers, but just be open to take it in.”
“Hello, Dillan. Thank you for taking time to show me around this place,” I reply. I really don’t want to do this but I promised Susan I would cooperate for today.
“Dillan I need Arilyn back by six tonight, that leaves only a few hours to show her around. Sean is heading over here for some final questions for her,” Susan stated.
“Will do Mrs. S, I will be on time like always,” he responded with a grin.
Once all the introductions and final directions were given, I finally stepped outside of my room for the first time. My room was inside what appeared to be a hospital. It all seemed normal, the building had the same elements carried through the building uniting to structure. After walking through the building I thought I had prepared myself for the theme of the city, light gray with small splashes of color. When we exited the building though I realized how wrong I was. I thought Dillan was exaggerating with his comment but I really was overwhelmed. No consistent theme tied the buildings together, the architecture built off of one another and allowed for strange shapes to be formed. Balconies and small bridges connected taller building allowing for access all over the place. Not only were the shapes of the buildings strange but the colors were almost overwhelming. Color was everywhere, but even though no color was left out it never felt like it clashed. All of the colors built of each other and accented the buildings they were a part of as well as their neighboring buildings. People were bustling about the paths. Children running around laughing, while people walked around about their own business.
“So what do you think?” Dillan said interrupting my thoughts.
“I have no what to think,” I reply honestly.
“Fair enough. When you’re done taking in the first sight we can continue. Take your time we have no need rush.”
“What the city’s theme? I was preparing myself to see light gray with a could splashes of color not this.”
“The city doesn’t have a theme. It just exists and evolves as time moves on.”
“Dillan, is the city on Break, I thought it was still morning?”
“You know, the time that everyone gets to take a break from work and studying.”
“Well, it’s a Saturday so there is no school and most people get off of work on this day too. Right now it’s a day of family and getting stuff done you can’t during the work week.”
“Why does half of the city’s population have a whole day off?”
“Well why do we have to work constantly? Saturday’s are most people’s day to recharge. We are constantly seeking out things to enjoy and make better. Making time these things can draining,” he responds smiling at me.
I stand disoriented by the scenery surrounding me rushing past my eyes. I close my eyes trying to absorb a little of what I witnessed. I blink a few times and turn towards Dillan asking, “Can we go to the Edge?”
“Are you talking about the border of the City?”
“Then let’s start walking.”
He turns and I walk behind him following him through the crowd. The sights never getting any less overwhelming. It’s not ugly or unappealing, just strange. It looks sort of free and unconstrained. The layout seems similar to Turquoise City. The City Center was quite busy but gets less so as you begin to enter the residential neighborhoods. Almost every street seems to have a few kids playing games. I also notice that there are many more parks than in my city. Every neighborhood seems situated around a small park. Once we reach the edge of buildings I see that this city’s edge is much different than my city’s edge. On the left is a forest of trees and on the left is farmland growing many different kinds of crops. We keep walking down the now narrow path and approach the Edge. I smell the salty breeze and relax as I had done so many times before on my city’s Edge.
After standing there silently for a few minutes I finally find the courage to ask a question that’s been bugging me, “Dillan how does this city even function?”
“What do you mean by that? We work and make life better and happier for everyone here.”
“But not everyone is working or learning. The whole city is wasting an entire day on nothing!”
“Do you call happiness, nothing? Nobody can work day in and day out and function normally.”
“The NSC does. We have a purpose and that creates the basis of our happiness.”
“I know that you are from a different place but is that really living? How can you live your life if don’t even have a say in decisions that can determine what that entails?”
His words struck a nagging thought that had been buried deep in the depths of my mind. Have I even made a decision for myself? When I think about it, I don’t think I have. Everyday I have a schedule that I followed to a tee, and all the important things were determined and chosen by the city. Is this the real reason why I couldn’t sleep and I just hid it and convinced myself it was pure excitement? These decisions without made without me includes my Life Test, the thing that decided I was meant to die. Do I believe in that test? If I do then I have to agree with its evaluation of me, or right here I can make my first decision.
Before I can continue my train of thought Dillan speaks up, “Sorry if this ended sounding like an interrogation. It’s getting close to the time we need to head back in order to make it back by six.”
“O-of course it’s all right. Let’s just head back,” I manage to stutter out, still overwhelmed by the doubts that are now flooding my mind.
He smiles once again and I realize he has kind eyes like Susan’s. We turn around and begin the long back. On the way back I take in more of the scenery without being as overwhelmed as the original walk. I notice that the technology is pretty much at the same standard as my old city. It’s just disguised through the extra vegetation present and unique structure.
Dillan speaks up as we continue down the path,“You know I was thinking back to your original question about the theme of the city. I think I have a better answer. It does have a theme, it’s creativity.”
I glance up at him and see him smiling at the city with pride on his face. I say nothing but smile back, then realize it’s my first smile in a while.