I Want to Be Able to Talk Again by Candice Payne

It was a typical day for the 22 year old Sasha Rose. She got up, ate breakfast, went to her lab, ate dinner, then went to sleep. This was what she did everyday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. She didn’t bother communicating with anyone, mainly because it was no longer necessary to do so. If she ever needed to communicate with someone, all she had to do was think it and the person would get the message. Life was pretty simple, all thanks to her invention. The invention that she made was a small simple chip that people inserted into the back of their neck that allowed people to communicate with different technology and other people who also had the chip in them. It had made Sasha billions, and now people across the globe were using her invention. 

Suddenly, a message popped up in her brain from her old friend Zoella. They hadn’t talked in ages because of an argument they had several years ago, when Sasha had first begun working on the chip. Sasha and Zoella were both very stubborn, head-strong individuals, so when they disagreed on a matter they were bound to have arguments. The one that transpired those years ago caused them to stop speaking to each other. 

“Hey Sasha, It’s been awhile since we’ve last spoken and I know we didn’t really end on good terms, but I was wondering if we could meet at that old park we used to go to when we were kids. I miss being able to talk to you about things. Also what color is your hair now lol?”

Sasha couldn’t help but let out a slight little chuckle seeing the end of the message. Sasha’s hair color was always changing. One week it would be yellow the next black. Currently it was a lavender color. Sasha went through the message one more as she thought to herself. She really did miss seeing her friend Zoella, but she was conflicted on whether or not they should meet again. She was afraid that it would just end with the two bickering at each other and drifting further apart than they already had previously. 

However, the more time she spent pondering to herself about whether or not she should, her mind kept telling her to give Zoella a chance. It was an opportunity that she might not ever receive again, so she responded to Zoella accepting the invitation and after a few more messages sent back and forth they both came to the agreement of meeting on Saturday at exactly noon. 

As the days went on, Sasha couldn’t help but get anxious about how the meeting would go. It got to the point where she couldn’t even focus on her work and instead she spent most of her days imagining how the meeting would go. When the fateful day finally arrived, Sasha woke up bright and early, wanting to make sure she looked decent. She decided to wear a pair of blue mom jeans and a light pink crop top that came from a rather pricey shop. She put on her sneakers. She knew exactly what time it was because of the chip and knew that she had time to watch a few shows. It was the first time she had done so in awhile. The chips made entertainment easy to watch. It was just connected to a streaming service and whatever show that was chosen would play in your mind. Sasha watched the shows mindlessly until the time approached 11 AM, and she knew she had to go if she wanted to meet Zoella on time. She got in her Tesla and let it drive her to the park. 

A half hour later, Sasha arrived at her destination. She was always early to any meeting because she never wanted to risk being late. If she somehow was late, which rarely occurred, she would be excused without many questions because everyone knew that something serious must have happened to make her late. When Sasha got out of her car, she was bewildered at the sight that greeted her. There was no one in the park. It felt desolate. There was no person to be seen. It was strange to her because for as long as she could remember there were always people at the park. There were no kids playing frisbee, no couples walking around talking, no one reading on the bench. There was nobody. 

The first hypothesis that she came up with in her head was that the park was closed for some reason. Surely, that must be the case. However, when she looked online she couldn’t find anything about the park being closed or any sign at the park saying it was closed. “I guess it’s just a rare day where no one’s here.” She muttered to herself as she reluctantly went over to the bench and sat down, just waiting for Zoella. 

It didn’t take long for Zoella to arrive. She got there about fifteen minutes after Sasha had. Zoella had approached Sasha cautiously as if she wasn’t sure it was her. Even though she knew it had to be Sasha by the hair. She thought that Sasha might hold a grudge from the argument after all those years. She knew she was capable of it and was thinking that perhaps the only reason Sasha had agreed to meet with her was so that she could yell at her. 

‘Hey’ Zoella had texted her through the chip, which caused Sasha to look up and smile brightly at the girl. 

“Hey, there you are. I was afraid you weren’t going to show up.” Sasha greeted as she gave the woman a hug. 

“Have you ever known me to be the type to stand someone up before?” Zoella chuckled. 

“No I suppose not.” Sasha paused for a moment as she looked around. “Is the park closed? It feels so weird for it to be empty like this.” 

“Oh no, it’s not closed. People just don’t come here anymore they’re too focused on their technology to be out here socializing with others.”

“Oh” Sasha was surprised by this news. She never realized the impact that technology could have on people. She never really went outside much after she made the chip. She did a couple news stories and then hid up in her house.“Well where are we going? I’m kinda hungry.” 

“We can go up to that cafe we used to go to all the time, The Lavender’s, if you want.” Zoey suggested and Sasha nodded in agreement. It was about a five minute walk from the park to the cafe. They always had done this together after school before Sasha had become homeschooled and did everything that she did with the chip. Sasha felt that it was nice to be able to do this with Zoella again. This was one of the things that she had missed doing. 

When they reached the cafe, Sasha had a similar experience that she did at the park. There was barely anyone in the cafe. There was an elderly couple who were trying to order, but couldn’t because they didn’t have the chip and they didn’t have any physical menus at the store anymore. The waitress also refused to physically talk to the couple. In the other corner of the room, there was a family who was sitting, waiting for their food. They weren’t talking to each other, they were just looking off, clearly messing with the chip in some way. Sasha was overwhelmed by the scene, beginning to see how her chip had truly affected people. 

“I’ll order our food.” Zoella told her as she looked over at the waitress and the waitress looked back before looking towards the kitchen. By this time, the elderly couple had gotten frustrated and just left the premises. “There we go. All done.”
Sasha was unsure of what to say. She just sat there quietly as she looked over at the family who finally got their food. They still weren’t talking to each other. The events that unfolded had bothered her greatly, and she began to realize what Zoella had been telling her all those years ago. “Is this how it’s like everywhere” Sasha questioned Zoella.

“Of course it is. I mean there’s a couple of rural towns that haven’t gone completely virtual, but they’re getting there.” Zoella gave her a sad smile. She was glad that Sasha was beginning to see her point though it was much too late now. “Everything’s more efficient now with the help of your chip, which was what you wanted, right?” 

“This was not what I wanted! I intended for the chip to be used for work to be more efficient. Not for people to stop socializing.” 

“You can’t tell me you didn’t think about what would happen when you added a way to consume entertainment from it.”

“I figured people would use it in moderation. Not like this. This isn’t right. That couple should have been served and they should be talking to one another!” Sasha exclaimed loudly causing the family to look over at her in disgust. “This isn’t right.” She repeated again. 

“I tried to warn you about this when you were making the stupid thing, but you said ‘no it’ll be fine’” Zoella did a bad impression of Sasha to try to prove her point further. “It’s too late to do anything about it now. People aren’t gonna change the way they experience life. Like you said, it is way more efficient.”

“Is this why you brought me out here? So you could prove your point finally.”

“No…. well… kinda, but I also just really missed my friend and wanted to see her again.” 

Sasha angrily looked away from Zoella. She couldn’t believe that she had really done this to prove her point, and she really hated that Zoella was right. The chip was turning out to be a big mistake. She also knew that she couldn’t do anything about it now. Nobody would listen to her. The food came to them and as soon as it did Sasha requested for a to-go box. She no longer felt like eating. She felt sick to her stomach. As soon as she got the to-go box she left, going back home and leaving Zoey behind. Sasha was angry with her, but if she was being honest she was even angrier at her younger self. She felt like such a fool. She should have listened to Zoella all those years ago. 

The days following, Sasha went on many talk shows and interviews trying to fix her mistake. The days turned into weeks and soon into years. Before she knew it, her whole life had passed by trying to fix her mistake. It was all to no avail. In fact, people had started making jokes about her. They were about how she was dumb for trying to make people stop using the chip, and eventually no one bothered to listen to her anymore. She was just screaming into a void about the guilt she felt from creating the chip until the very end of her life. 

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