Reading duration: medium-short

Today’s client is a young woman. She is tall, with a long dark hair.
She is anxious, the decision she is making is haunting her.
She sometimes folds her hands in prayer, then she looks up to the sky as if she is looking for an answer.
I enter the room.
<<Hi!>> she answers immediately, getting up <<How are you?>>
<<I’m good, thanks. And you?>>
<<Good … more or less.>>
I smile at her slightly and sit in my seat; she imitates me.
<<I see that she is very tense.>> I tell her.
<<You have made a very difficult decision.>>
She nods <<But it is also the right one.>>
<<Good.>> I pulls out a sheet and I hand it to her <<You should already know, but for legal reasons you must have a good personal motivation to do this. You also have to do this little taped interview.>>
A nervous smile escapes her <<I think my motivation is quite valid.>> she says <<As you already know, I am an immigrant. And I’m following the state integration program.>>
I take out my notebook and my pen <<Yes, I know.>>
<<I sent all the documents, right?>>
<<Yes, yes. We got it. What I want is for you to briefly tell me what life was like in your country of origin, and what prompted you to leave.>>
<<Uhm …>> she stops for a moment to think about it <<well … in reality it wasn’t too bad. When I think about it, beautiful things always come to mind. Like the food. Or the sun. >> and she smiles <<It’s always cold here. But it’s very hot there, and it’s not humid so you don’t sweat a lot. I remember that as a child I used to climb trees to eat the fruit that grew there. And that in the morning, at dawn, when there was still no sun, it was wonderful to play outside the house because there was a cool fog and it wasn’t as hot as the rest of the day. I remember the small children who ran after the cars, the few times they passed through the village. And I remember that at night we used to sit around the fire to tell each other stories.>>
<<And were these stories beautiful?>>
<<Uhm … they were children’s stories more than anything else. Some, however, were scary. For example it was forbidden to go to the kitchen at night. There people believe that spirits pass in the kitchen at night and that if you see them in the face, you die.>>
<<And we don’t even have to turn on the light to bother them. And we must be quiet when we walk around the house at night, or they realize that you are awake.>>
<<And did you believe it?>>
She smiles guiltily <<Sure. >> she says <<But … it didn’t seem so stupid as a child. Because sometimes, when I couldn’t sleep, I would hear the noise of dishes and pots coming from the kitchen. So … even though the light was off, someone was there.>> and a chuckle escapes her <<Luckily the spirits are kind and do not enter the rooms!>>
<<There are many legends and beliefs there. And strange things also happen. I’m glad that everything is more normal here.>> and she laughs again <<Bad things also happen there though. I still remember a friend I had as a child at school. He was very kind. He always smiled. He was very thin but he always had a cheerful face. If anyone asked him how he was doing, he would say he was fine. But then he starved to death in his parents’ house. They didn’t have enough money to buy him food.>>
<<The sister is alive tho. She went around asking everyone if they had any money for snacks. She screamed and cried all the time, she was really nasty! I think she stole money too sometimes. The brother was too kind to steal, he never did. And he never asked for anything. He never complained. He was really very polite. The little sister, on the other hand, was always looking for something to eat.>> she sighs <<And now she is alive while he is dead.>>
<<Has you seen many people die?>>
She gives a half smile <<I don’t know. I saw my cousin die for some disease at the age of nine. One night he said his stomach hurt. It was not a new thing, his stomach often hurt , but it usually stop after a while. That evening he cried a lot tho. We didn’t sleep because he cried all night. The next morning I was very tired, he didn’t stop crying. In the end, when I was having breakfast, he stopped. I was happy! I ran to my grandmother to tell her that the stomach ache was finally over. But the grandmother wasn’t smiling.>>
<<Because the boy was he dead?>>
<<Yes. He had stopped crying because he was dead. We buried him behind the house.>>
<<Do you know what he had?>>
<<A tummy tumor? I do not know. They took him to the hospital, but the doctors asked for too much money to treat him. And we didn’t have them. So … we will never know what he had.>> she sighs <<But I have a lot of cousins ​​myself. One stuck a stick in my ear when we were little. I think that little pest damaged my nerve, because sometimes it still hurts.>> and she smiles slightly. <<And then there was this friend. We said that we would do everything together, that we would always stay together, that… that we would even have the same boyfriend. The same house. The same children.>> and she bursts out laughing <<How stupid.>>
<<What happened to her?>>
<<Her? She got engaged. And guess what? She immediately changed her mind! Her boyfriend was hers, and hers alone. We haven’t talked much since then, until she came to my house asking for help.>>
<<For what exactly?>>
<<For find the boyfriend who had made her pregnant and then disappeared! >> and having said that she bursts out laughing <<We looked for him everywhere. And when we found him, it turned out that in reality he was not the father, but someone else was. In the end I left her to search alone. I had spent a whole day asking the whole village questions to find him, and when we discovered that perhaps it was a futile search I got annoyed. But I admit that I enjoyed it. That day we chatted again, like two best friends. It was the last day we really talked. And it was fun. I will always remember that. “Me and my friend in search of the lost boyfriend!”. It looks like one of those comedy films that you can find for three euros in supermarkets.>>
<<What prompted you to leave your country?>>
<<I wanted to travel. I didn’t know anything about the rest of the world. I didn’t think there were such rich places. So one day I packed up and left. I thought I would have fun, and I left with other people.>> she sighs <<Crossing the desert was not very fun unfortunately. There people were dying of thirst. Two people died because …>> she hesitates and shudders <<the woman had “her things”, and since they were dying of thirst they decided to drink those!>>
<<And how did you survive?>>
<<I had my supplies of water. And I kept them well hidden from others. Fortunately, after the desert things have improved. I have seen so many warm and beautiful places. There were people fleeing the war and others fleeing hunger there … but I was there just because I was curious. The world was huge. And it was beautiful.>>
<<But now you have stopped.>>
<<Yes … yes, I have to stop. I’m pregnant. I can’t keep exploring the world. My adventures ends here. But it’s not a bad things. Here people are nice. But to stay I have to do this integration program.>>
<<Okay. Do you know what this operation consists of?>>
<<More or less … will I forget my past?>>
<<Not only that. A fictional past will be created for you. We will give your language a local accent so people will believe you were born here. After that we will create a family, long dead, who in turn lived here. We will give you a childhood in this country, and an origin in this country, and you will think you comes from one of the small remote villages of this place so you will have the same local beliefs and traditions of the other natives. We will also change your name and your genetic code both of your and of your son.>>
<<What will happen to my son exactly?>>
<<First of all we will change the somatic features of him. He will be like all the local children so very different from you, but we will try to keep some traits where possible.>>
<<But if he is different he will think that I’m not his->>
<<You will think you did him with a local man, who then died or abandoned you. So you will believe that your son has inherited everything from him, and that’s is what you will tell to him.>>
<<This change applies both to the child you have in your womb and to all the future children.>> I say looking at the woman <<From this moment, all the children you will have will be made following the somatic traits of the local population. It does not matter which man you will make them with.>>
<<So if I were to marry a man from my country…>>
<<Your child will still have the typical somatic features of this nation.>>
<<These are the rules. But look on the bright side: you will be able to choose many things about your child. You can choose whether to have a sports child or a scholar. Or maybe a music lover. You can choose to have it blonde or with red, black or brown hair … and you can choose to give him blue or green eyes, or maybe both.>>
<<I prefer to leave these things to the Fate.>>
<<Are you sure?>>
<<I’m afraid of choosing something that he might hate. And I don’t want to decide for him what to do when he grows up>>
I smile reassuringly <<Don’t worry, you will not choose his future job, but his future predispositions. For example if you want to have a musician as a child, we will create him with a brain with a high musical intelligence. He will be passionate about music himself, and he will try to become a musician alone, you won’t have to do anything for convince him. We will not force him to take a specific path, we will give to him just a simple “push” in the direction of your choice.>>
She nods <<Okay. And what about my family? The real one I mean. They told me that I could see them again, but if I forget them how will I do it?>>
<<Your memories will be preserved.>> I explain. <<Once a year you will come back here and we will give them back to you. Once a year you will remember your true life and your true origins. You can then contact your family and, who knows, maybe even travel to see them. >>
<<How long does this thing last?>>
<<You will be able to keep your true memories to a maximum of a month. But there are conditions to be respected. Your son, for example, will not have to know anything of this, which is why you will not be able to interact with him when you regains your memories.>>
<<I understand. And after that month I will forget everything again>>
<<But what will drive me to come back here once a year if I forget everything?>>
<<You will believe you have a rare disease for which you have to come for a hospitalization every year, a hospitalization that lasts up to a month at most. With this excuse we will justify your absences also to your son and to the rest of your acquaintances.>>
<<I understand.>>
<<Good.>> I stand up <<Follow me then. We have a lot to do.>>