Author : J.R. Blackwell, Staff Writer
Minister Christof glowed with pure thoughts. His halo seemed even brighter inside the restaurant than out in the noon sun. The more Godly the thought, the brighter the flame burned. Levi admired his fatherâ€™s ability to keep his thoughts pure, he was glad there was no halo around his head.
The waitress tugged down on her skirt as she led them to a booth by large bay windows. Levi picked up a menu, already looking forward to his usual birthday treat. Christof plucked the menu out of Leviâ€™s hands and put it aside.
â€œSon, before we order, Iâ€™d like to talk to you. Youâ€™re sixteen today, and I think youâ€™re ready to have this conversation with me. Recently Iâ€™ve noticed that you have been paying a lot of attention to the networks.â€
â€œSorry Dad.â€ Levi clasped his hands together in front of him, twisting his fingers.
â€œDonâ€™t hang your head like that. There is no reason to be ashamed. Young people are naturally attracted to shared experience. Itâ€™s perfectly normal for you to be interested in how other people think and feel.â€
â€œItâ€™s okay?â€ Levi looked up at his father. Even without the neural-implant-halo lighting his head, Minister Christof would be a striking figure. The black ministerâ€™s shirt and crisp white collar did nothing to conceal his former-linebacker physique.
Christofâ€™s halo glowed with yellow flame. â€œI want you to feel comfortable talking to me about your thoughts on the network and memory sharing. Itâ€™s important that you can tell me what your peers are doing and what you are doing yourself.â€
â€œI guess I have been thinking about it. Other people at school are exchanging memories, mostly of concerts and stuff.â€ Levi shrugged and looked out the window at the lake. Geese were setting onto the placid water. Levi wondered how many of them were real and how many were robots. â€œSometimes I think it doesnâ€™t seem that bad to share.â€
â€œYouâ€™re right son, it doesnâ€™t seem bad at first but it becomes bad very quickly. Itâ€™s a slippery slope from sharing a concert to sharing a spiritual experience with God. When you share your memory, you are sharing your emotional reaction, your body, your soul. Itâ€™s an intimate experience. What you remember is Godâ€™s plan for you, what happens to you is for you alone, and later, for a life-mate.â€
â€œDid you ever share with other people, I mean, other than mom?â€
â€œWhen I was young, I shared a lot and tampered with my own memories.â€ A red crackle pulsed around his halo, chased by a white flame. â€œI even ditched the memory of my first relationship. Now I regret doing that because when I was born again and reloaded from save I found that I repeated a lot of mistakes I made in that first relationship. I could have avoided those mistakes if I had my memories to warn me and keep me safe.â€ Minister Christof leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. â€œGod gives us experiences that become part of our soul. When we share memories with other people, we are sharing our soul with them. I share with your mother, but I waited until we were married. We were tempted to share when we were dating, but we knew it was wrong. Now, Iâ€™m glad we waited.â€
â€œI havenâ€™t ever shared with anyone dad. I promise.â€
â€œI know you havenâ€™t son, and I think that takes a lot of restraint and courage. I know that your peers must be sharing memories though public ports or even through ports their parents have given them.â€
Levi blushed. â€œDonâ€™t worry Dad; I always stay away from the public ports.â€
Minster Christof leaned back in his seat, crossing him arms. â€œI bet a lot of kids have their own ports, donâ€™t they.â€
â€œMost of the kids at school have their own ports.â€
â€œI realize you may feel jealous that they get to store and retrieve memory whenever they want, but your mother and I felt that giving you a port would be too much of a temptation at an early age, do you understand?â€
â€œYeah, I guess. Itâ€™s just that it would be nice to review a lecture or a concert or something.â€
â€œYou must trust that your mother and I are trying to follow Godâ€™s will for you.â€
â€œAnd thatâ€™s why weâ€™ve both decided to give you a port of your own.â€
Leviâ€™s eyes widened. â€œReally?â€
Minister Christof pulled his briefcase onto the table and opened it, pulling out a small velvet box. â€œYou are sixteen years old today and I trust you to make the right choices. This is a time when we are making a commitment to your future family, to only share with them and to keep your memory pure.â€ Inside the box was a sliver ring, glittering with impatient nano connections. â€œThis is your memory ring. As soon as you put it on it will record all of your memories. When you get married, you can give it to your life mate and it will share your memories from this moment onward. Go ahead, put it on.â€
Levi took the box his handâ€™s shaking. He took out the ring, hoping he wouldnâ€™t drop it and slid it on his finger. He felt a tingle in his spine. â€œWow.â€
â€œTake my hands, lets have the first memory your life mate has for you as a prayer.â€ Levi obediently took his fathers hands and closed his eyes, following to his fatherâ€™s low voice. â€œAs you wear this ring, please remember what God intends for the experiences he blesses you with, and to give you the courage and restraint to keep these memories sacred, and to only share them with your future life mate.â€
Levi opened his eyes. â€œAmen.â€