Chronicles from the future: Northam’s circle and their social code
Note: Use the arrows at the bottom to navigate between the pages of the book.
(The dating changes. This is our year 3906 AD and according to the dating for the future era it is 1509)
Once again, everything is crumbling inside me. A great part of the expectations and the dreams of the latter days has proven futile. The famous “environment” of my new life, the “circle” of Andrew Northam doesn’t look like anything more than a playful and carefree bunch of young people. I am, however, starting to have fun with this whole story. Who knows, it might be just another defense mechanism of my mind…
The plan for this morning was a walk by the nearby lake, with boats that you could hire. Youth, laughter, noise, singing; Stefan was struggling to marshal them at every turn.
- Hilda! Hilda! Wait! We can’t catch up! Andrew can’t run!
He looked somewhat annoyed by the fact that his girlfriend happened to be the one who was far ahead of everyone and that she was the reason why the whole group accelerated. Walking between him and Silvia, his other friend, it was difficult to catch up.
- “Sorry Andrew,” Hilda later said, “my mind was elsewhere…”
I felt that I had to say something nice to her as well. I looked at her; truth be told, she was very pleasant to look at. Forcing an awkward smile I said that it didn’t matter and that I was now feeling strong enough- which was a lie. Stefan noticed my fatigue and suggested we have another break. Luckily the rest of the road was downhill.
I sat next to Stefan on a bench made of stone and we listened to Axel and Eric who were talking about the beauty of spring mornings while collecting poppies. Silvia was chit chatting with Aria. Juliet and Hilda were chasing a couple of blue butterflies.
“Is this the group of Andrew’s friends then?” I meditated in disappointment. “I think that no one could expect to gain great knowledge from this bunch of big children…”
These two twenty-five-year-olds along with the four girls and Stephan, stormed into the institution three days ago, as soon as the doctors allowed visitors. They surrounded me full of joy, screaming and laughing and asking me a thousand questions! They could hardly contain their excitement from seeing me strong and healthy again- that is, Andrew Northam.
I was impressed by their manners that would be considered rather childish for their age. It seemed very strange for Northam to have such a circle of friends since I knew that, before the accident, he was a respected young scientist who had worked in some sector of applied physics- I don’t remember which one exactly- and with quite good results for that matter. In fact, the institute for which he was working had called the Molsen Institute several times asking about his health.
Unintentionally, I looked towards the North, behind the high mountains, with a vague sense of nostalgia for my old homeland. I felt a tear trapped in the corner of my eye. I didn’t say anything to Stefan at that moment; he was showing me some villas, far into the distance, that looked innumerable, almost like entire states. He told me that in many places they had kept the same archaic names like Waren, Cernobbio, Belano, Menaggio and others, names that sound weird now that the language has changed.
Hilda had the idea to sing a song with the rest of the girls. It was a spring song that they sang all together, stanza by stanza. It’s a fun and entertaining song to sing between friends. Out of the blue, a window opened, a girl appeared and started accompanying the song with her violin. Right next to her, a painter, who, up until then, had been struggling with his palette and his brushes, pulled out a flute and accompanied the melody in turn.
How did that happen? How did these people leave their jobs and tune themselves with our rhythm and our way of having fun? I was immensely impressed by that spontaneous and easily acquired joy, their positive attitude and their will to identify with us! The fun was generalized as if the rhythm of the song became an invisible bond that made us one! Before we headed to the lake, we applauded our new friends and they applauded us, as if we were old mates or acquaintances.
The guys then started pinning flowers on the girls’ lapels. Stefan pinned it on Hilda, Axel on Juliet and Eric on Aria. Silvia was looking at me with a hint of a smile, waiting for my move. With trembling hands I pinned the flower on her lapel like the others did, and we marched holding hands, like little children. The four boats were ready. Most of the other groups of friends had already taken position and greeted us, the “late arrivals”, raising their right hand and waving to us from afar. The white sails were already set.
I stop and observe their codes of conduct. As Stefan explained to me, in this new world prevails the strange habit of not being strangers to anyone. They talk to people they have never met open-heartedly, like they are old friends of theirs; and the latter respond with the exact same way in return. They all have the same kind of relaxed attitude, the same naivety in their manners, the same benevolence, the same tact, the same brotherhood, as if they have all gone to a big, universal college in their childhood.
I wanted to ask Stefan so many things; but how? It would have to be just the two of us if I were to do that. He had promised he would show me a typical image of modern life. He knew that what I wanted to see and experience was not the countryside and the holidays but the exact opposite: the large urban centers, the world of work and the everyday people; and I knew that these things existed somewhere.
I would also like to know whether this common behavior, which was highlighted by strong and obvious characteristics of childhood purity, was a cause of the purely economic grounds Stefan had talked to me about, which, with the passage of time, managed to raise this equality, this homogeneity, to such a high level. And doubt me if you will, but I’m not going to believe this universal fairy tale with its flawless and refined manners and its spontaneous brotherhood of people that lack any ulterior motives, without first seeing it with my own eyes in all its manifestations…
Chronicles from the Future is now available in Kindle or paperback format through Amazon.
Copyright Achilleas Syrigos. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be republished.