I have a system. I wake up in the morning, spring a round of 50 arm swings and swallow a cup of sandwich. You did not read that wrong.
I walk to school and take the bus. The bus arrives at the cemetery behind the hill. I kneel and pray and then I get up. The day seems cloudy, I wonder if it'll rain.
I have a system, and I go to school. At school, I don't fit in. I have one friend and she doesn't talk much either. She hangs around and goes to bed. The bed slings around the windows and she flutters when the wind whooshes too hard.
I have a system. And then the system came to me.
"I have a task for you," the system says.
I look at the system and then I look at my friend. She touches and pokes and prods the thing. The system shows no indication she's there.
"I can't dream more than once," I respond.
You can hear the frown in its voice, "You're not dreaming."
I close my eyes and wish away. I imagine the frown turns upside down on a face it doesn't have.
I open my eyes and my friend became bored with the obtuse system. She's gone to sleep again. The system is still here.
Now I frown. "What do you want?"
The system seems relieved that I asked. "I have a task for you."
I take the bait, "What task?"
"A game," and nothing else. This is a brusque system.
I've lost interest. I turn away and I stare at the walls. The big red number on the board counts down the days until the big test. There is no one else in the room.
My friend heard the system. She says, "Why not take it up on its offer? You've got nothing else better to do anyhow."
My lips are pressed thin. "I don't want to," I tell her.
"Why not?" the system asks.
I don't respond. "Today is a beautiful day to save lives. Today is a happy day to be alive."
"So you know," the system states.
I don't know what the system means. I tell my friend, "Go back to sleep."
She shrugs and retreats. She's back in her swinging bed.
The system gives me an ultimatum. "You either play the game or you're stuck here the rest of your life."
I shrug. "I'm happy."
"Then you'll rot happily in this small white cell," the system snaps.
So I smile. "I will." I'm happy. Today's a beautiful day to save lives. Today's a happy day to be alive. I like it.
The system hangs around. My friend seems interested, but I hold her back.
"Why don't you leave?" I ask the system.
"I can't," the system responds grumpily, "I chose you, and now I'm stuck with you."
"Just choose another person," I say cheerily.
I feel the side-eyed peer I'm given. "How can you be so content locked here? Don't you want freedom?" the system presses.
I hum. "My soul is calm, my heart is a drop of water in a quiet pond. I am at peace. I am me. I make my judgements and I follow my feelings. I am free."
The system doesn't understand. But it is stuck with me until the end. And after the end, the system was still never able to understand me. But that's okay, because I understand me.