“I love you, my dearest”, I say folding back and patting smooth the sheet that is tucked at her chin.
I look at her and trace the thick welts at my cheek and feel within them my own mother’s bottomless affection. I, too, will love my child as she loved me. Bottomless, endless love.
I remember caressing her form as she grew in my belly. We were alone, she and I, and even then I knew she was special. More than a daughter. She is my best friend. But today is the day I will hack from her sweet face every last hint of its beauty.
“Is today when you tell me the story?”, she asks through eyes so deep and so dark.
“Yes, yes. For you to understand what’s to come, you must first learn what has already been.”
“Is it a scary story, Mother?”
“It is horrifying. This tale of the day when the world ground to a halt and then again it spun”, I stutter.
“I don’t know if I can do this.”
“OK… so it was that the remnants of our burning planet’s leadership sat in the great auditorium and gazed at him up on the screen.”
“The one who was scrubbed from all memory. A mighty invader from a distant civilisation. He looked like us. Or, at least, he looked like we once had been. Arrogant. Smug in the certainty of his absolute power.”
“What was his name?”
“His name was God. For we had no other name for he who welds control so absolutely. We asked for mercy. We asked to be saved and in his grace he allowed us a chance.”
“I know everything about you. Your cultures, your languages but I really do not understand this incredulous notion you harbour. That there must be some underlying motive to my actions. I annihilate because I can. You want mercy? I can do that, too. Do you know of an Italian television show that goes by the name of Uomini e Donne?”, he said.
“Of course… it is very popular”, The Italian Prime-minister responded bemused.
“It is also very popular on the farthest edge of the galaxy. The borderline tortuous ever-repeating theme music, the continuous vacuous arguing and the fake body parts and the ’does he love her does she not’ dynamic… it’s all so… stimulating. I’ll spare you your world and I will leave and pledge never to return… but you must continue to make that show. You must pour all of your resources into its perpetual continuation. Beam it out into the stars. The very instant that you don’t, I will return and that… will be… the end of that!”
“And so this damned show is beamed three times daily out into the swirling mystery of the cosmos. All notion of organized religion is erased. Government’s cease to exist. There is only the show. A dating show that to this very day selects only our most beautiful. Groomed to transcend mere celebrity, you will pass into the pantheon of immortals. Only you won’t. For it is farce. You’ll be exulted and lauded only whist you still have your looks. The moment age falters your perfection, they will kill you. I’m so sorry… I love you so very, very much”, I say into the pristine ocean eyes of my unfathomably beautiful daughter as my weak fingers open and the blade falls away to the floor.