Friday, 22 January 2016

#whimword - Confidence

Your palms are sweaty, your hands shaking. There is the taste of bile in your throat and if you get through this without vomiting it'll be a fucking miracle. You don't need to look in the mirror to know you look like shit; you already know that your face is pale, your fringe stuck to your forehead with perspiration.

You have never been so fucking nervous in your whole life.

There's a knock on the door and a voice telling you it's time.

As you walk through the backstage area you hear people calling out to you, reassuring you, telling you it'll be fine. You wish you could believe them.

"Good luck out there."

"You'll do great."

"Break a leg!"

You're not ready for this. You know it in your heart. Not for the first time you wonder why you were chosen for this when so many others must have been better candidates. What could they have possibly seen in you that made them choose you?

You try to think back, try to remember what happened that day that set you on this path, but you can't remember. The only thing in your mind is a blinding white terror and you know that you're going to fuck this up. How can you not? This isn't meant for you. You shouldn't be here. You don't belong.

Not for the first time you consider running. If you bolt now they'll be disappointed in you but at least then they'll hate you for running, not for fucking up this wonderful opportunity you should never have been given in the first place. The only reason you don't run the fuck away is because your knees feel weak and you're not convinced your legs will be able to carry you any meaningful distance.

You're down to two choices then; go out there and do what is expected of you and probably fuck up, or pass out. Passing out feels like the more attractive prospect but somehow you know you won't be able to.

There's a buzz in your brain now, a strange fizzy feeling in your limbs you know is adrenaline. Fight or flight response has kicked in and since you've already ruled out flight there's only one option left. Fighting means going out there and doing your thing, no matter the consequences. You're still not convinced you'll be able to pull this off without screwing up and letting people down, but the only option left is to try.

The lights go down and you're out of time.

The sick feeling has disappeared completely, though you're not entirely sure when. You feel... excited? You're ready. How on earth did that happen?

There's a murmur of anticipation that sets your blood on fire. You wonder why you were even nervous in the first place; this is what you were born to do, who you were born to be.

The audience applauds as you step out into that spotlight and you realise, you were ready after all.

Friday, 15 January 2016

#whimword - Citizen

Everyone in the Commonwealth wants to be a citizen. It means you're civilized, accepted; you have rights. Only a tiny fraction of the Commonwealth's inhabitants ever acquire citizenship, and most of them are wealthy. For those born without means the only way to obtain citizenship is through service.

Joining the army is the fastest route to becoming a citizen, but it's also an excellent way to get killed. Jace chose to serve in planetary security; it takes about twice as long to earn citizenship that way, but it's much safer. Which had been fine with Jace's husband in the beginning, but he's starting to get a little frustrated with how long it's taking.

Tom wants kids, they both do, but the only way they were ever going to get permission to adopt is if one of them obtains citizenship. And Tom had been barred from serving in most professions that led to citizenship after he'd lost his leg in the hovercar accident. Over the last few years Jace has come to realise that the man he loves isn't going to wait forever to start a family.

Jace needs to get his citizenship, and soon.

Which is why he was using his security clearance to break into the Commonwealth Citizenship offices in the dead of night. All it will take is a few changes in a database and he will become a citizen. And then his husband will stay with him and they can start the family they'd always dreamed of.

His mission is interrupted by the blare of alarms. Jace's heart is in his mouth as the security barriers come crashing down around him. There's no point in running; his heart is already broken. Without his citizenship there is no doubt that Tom will leave him and it'll all be for nothing. He lies on the ground with his hands on his head and submits meekly.

The trial is smooth and justice is swift; Jace had been caught red-handed abusing security privileges and trespassing on Commonwealth government property. He doesn't bother protesting his innocence. The judge sentences him to twenty years in prison and he's permanently barred from obtaining citizenship.

Prison isn't too bad; he gets fed and is kept busy but he misses Tom. Family aren't allowed to visit until after the first year of the sentence; Jace doesn't expect to see Tom even then. Surely he will have moved on; taken up with someone who can provide the children he so desperately wants.

After a year and a day in prison, Jace receives a visitor. When he sees his husband on the other side of the security glass he almost breaks down in tears he's so glad to see him.

"I thought I'd never see you again," he says crying.

"Oh you dolt," Tom says affectionately. "I love you."

Maybe they do still have a future together, despite prison and the ruined chances of having a family. Maybe Jace is enough after all, even without being a citizen.