Fiction
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#dystopiasf – We’re Pregnant

“Congrats!”

“Congrats!”

The messages kept pouring in, now that the news of Jennifer’s pregnancy were out. The Health and Happiness network had asked permission to tell all her and Josh’s friends, and perhaps that was a bit overreaching for the number of people she had never heard of who automatically had clicked the “Send Congrats!” button. Even the amount of the donations was making her uncomfortable. She had no idea how much those baby things cost, but she also had no idea formed in her head of an actual baby in her arms needing the gifts.

“Congrats!”

“Congrats!”

She called her mother. Her parents were part of the D group, the Disconnected, who still talked on a phone that had a coil wire going to the wall in their kitchen. The MyLifeHH App had reminded her that she should contact her D group on her own, but had conveniently queued up their phone numbers for her to call, in order of importance.

“That is so lovely!” her mother had said on the phone. She shouted the news out. Her father was in the basement doing woodworking or what else did he do down there, according to her mother. “He says congratulations,” her mother said. “When did you learn about it?” she asked.

“Just now,” said Jennifer.

“I mean,” said her mother, “did you have suspicions, and go to the pharmacy for a test kit?”

“Oh, it’s a lot easier now,” Jennifer said, “it comes up on your phone.”

“That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard,” said her mother.

“Josh’s employer subscribes us to this health care network,” she said, “and I don’t know if you’ve heard of wearable technologies…”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Well, let’s say it’s all automatic now, your heart beat and your body temperature are monitored, and this should interest you, because it calls the ambulance before you have a heart attack or whatever.”

“I’m about to have a heart attack if you keep telling me about it. I don’t suppose it would call the ambulance if a tornado took our house up in the air.”

“I know, it sounds scary, doesn’t it? But it’s so convenient.”

“Is there a doctor following you?”

“There’s a team of doctors and nurses, mom. I can ask any question at any time of the day or night, and usually get an answer in less than half an hour.”

“That is convenient,” said her mom.

“We should get you and dad connected,” said Jennifer. “That would be reassuring.”

“Maybe. But now I wonder when we can visit. I can help you.”

“But our apartment is really small,” said Jennifer.

“You’ll have to find a house. You can get a house, with your job and Josh’s job? Are you going to quit your job?”

“I’m not quitting my job,” said Jennifer. “But nobody wants to live down there in the suburbs, we can’t move to a house.”

“Didn’t you say yourself there were no children in San Francisco?”

“Mom, there are children. We see them at restaurants some times. There are people who complain about crying babies, but otherwise they integrate well.”

“Well, think about it,” said her mother. Jennifer knew that meant her mother wanted to know how she could visit. “Call me about anything that comes up, you know I’ve been through it a few times.”

Jennifer wondered if indeed she would need to involve her mother. They had so many resources now, that seeking advice from her mom felt quaint, like going through actual vintage clothes.

“Can you believe there’s even an App to manage your pregnancy?” she told her friend Clara in the conversation alcove at work.

“Awesome,” said Clara. Clara still said that, “awesome,” as if the clock had turned back a few years. “So you’re all taken care of, then. Do you know the date?”

“It says June 18, see?” she said, showing the date displayed on her phone. “No time of day, though. They haven’t figured that out yet.”

“You mean the App? Maybe they’ll have an update.”

“Yes, and it’s not like a major inconvenience. It’s going to tell us when we get closer to the day, so we don’t have to freak out in the middle of the night or something.”

“Awesome.”

“And also, of course, if we stay on the same plan and the same employers, both Josh and I will be able to take days off without jeopardizing any project.”

“Awesome.”

“Yeah, pretty good deal,” Jennifer said. But now she had to go back to her current project, and Josh had a deadline that kept him at work. Even with Enhanced Communication, she still missed being physically close to him. That was a primitive instinct she supposed technology had not addressed yet. She would have to wait until late tonight, when he’d be delivered back to her in their bed, and they could be naked and completely disconnected, as if they were alone in wilderness. Her watch recorded a blip just as she imagined just how that would be.

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