Amelia stepped behind the counter, waving back at Kya as she clocked back in.
“See you later.” Kya said, with the knowledge that she likely wouldn’t see her friend again for a few weeks. As she turned back into the hall, all of the advertisement billboards unfurled along the walls covering the store windows and sprang to life with the same commercial: Enhance promoting their Super service.
It started with a small group of five young people from various ethnic backgrounds walking along a crowded street and having issues getting through the sea of people, all walking in the opposite direction. The voice over calmly exclaimed, “Do you ever feel like you can’t move forward in life? Do you ever wish you could rise above all of lifes challenges and roadblocks?”
Kya watched, entranced by the commercial as it continued.
The well dressed, caucasian, young man of the group floated up above his cohorts and raced over the tide of people below.
The scene quickly changed, and the advertisement was now focused on an older couple. A white haired lady kneeling beside her noticeably injured friend or husband, a bald man holding his leg.
“Ever get hurt, and feel like it would be forever before you could get up again?”
The camera showed an animated sequence of the inside of the old man’s leg repairing itself in seconds before returning to the bald man picking himself up and dusting his pants off. A look of relief spread across the woman’s face as he did so.
The last vignette showed a young man in a medical centre, a nurse injecting his arm with a needle.
The announcer voice continued, “Stop by today, and get the Supers of your dreams!”
The young man in the commercial looked directly at the camera, his eyes now glowing white. A message appeared at the bottom of the advertisement stating results are not typical, expect seven days before the presentation of Supers.
The camera zoomed in close and he spoke, “Who would ever want to be normal?”
Ending the commercial, it ran quickly through a list of side effects. Kya had long since known all the limitations of getting Supers, and the biggest one, the one they spent the most time on at the end of each and every commercial was the fact that each person could only have five Supers.
Kya noticed that the price of the treatments had gone up again. “Sixty five thousand dollars!” she squeaked out louder than she had intended. She made a quick mental note that the price was increasing by as much as a thousand dollars per month, and sighed at the realization that the cost was now double what she earned in a year.
The screens along the hallways all rolled away and the store windows were no longer covered, many people had continued walking during the entire presentation, as it was played every few hours in most malls across the country. Kya found herself stopping each and every time she saw it being played, and imagined herself inside the commercial, receiving her own Supers.
When Kya got home, she plugged her music player into the stereo and chose an energetic playlist from her favourite music streaming site. She forced herself to dance to a tune to get her body to wake up and blood flowing, but it lacked the desired effect. She made herself a simple sandwich, by tossing some pre-cooked bacon, and some bagged salad lettuce between two pieces of white bread and then smiled as she grabbed an apple and a banana out of the fruit basket that Sam always kept stocked. She was definitely aware of how lucky she had been in getting Sam as a roommate.
When Kya had first come to this apartment she was equally blown away by the apartment itself and her would-be roommate.
Sam had opened the door with a timid smile, flashing straight white teeth. Back then Sam kept his near platinum blonde hair longer so that his bangs hid the top edges of his ice blue eyes.
“Kya?” He asked in an unsure tone.
“Yeah!” She responded with surprise. “You said it right! How did you-?”
“The Internet is a mighty tool,” he replied with a another toothy grin. “Come on in.”
Sam invited Kya to sit on the black leather couch, which would soon become her second bed.
“So,” he said, “what do you think?”
“I-I don’t know what to say! Wow!” Kya took a deep breath. “It’s so different from where I’m living now.”
“Where do you live now?” Sam asked, meeting Kya’s eyes and holding eye contact while they spoke.
“Oh, over by Trillium Park.” She said, tossing her hand over her shoulder in the direction of the park. “Directly across the street from the park, actually.”
“Ah, the houses there are so beautiful! If I remember correctly, a bunch of them are protected by the Historical Society, aren’t they?”
“Yeah… I’m sure my place used to be beautiful, but decades of neglect and rental life have left it a little worse for wear. Broken windowpanes, loose baseboards, cracks in the walls and a very eclectic colour palette.” She grinned when she said the last bit, thinking about the pinks, greens, and blues that covered the walls.
“I see!” Sam said with a chuckle. “So what got you in there?”
“Friends. It’s a six bedroom place with two bathrooms and a kitchen. I moved in with five friends from university.” She smiled a bit as she thought back on the good old days at that house. “My room is the smallest, at the back of the house. It overlooks the tiny backyard and the alleyway with garages and parking for our street and the next. The paint job in my room is a little splotchy, but I did it myself when I first moved in.”
Kya was surprised at how easy it was to talk to Sam. She knew that technically this was an interview for a roommate, but he made her feel so at ease.
“Sounds like in spite of all its flaws, you made the place your home.” Sam nodded. “So why leave?”
“Well, all of those friends have moved on. Now there’s eight twenty-somethings sharing the space. And some of those people are keen on cooking, eating, partying, and staying up late, and not too keen on cleaning, buying their own food or respecting the sleeping needs of their roommates. Plus, I spend half of my monthly income on living there and more than half of the rest on food. And with thirty just around the corner and a job doing shift work I just would like a change.”
“Can I know a little about you?” Kya asked shyly.
“Sure. I’m a university graduate as of this past June.” A friendly smile crossed his face. “I’d like to become a teacher, but I’d also like a year to experience the world before I do that. I’ve been living here for about a year, and it’s a great place. I’m pretty quiet, and low key. In case you couldn’t already tell.”
Kya laughed and Sam joined her.
As she returned her attention to the task at hand, Kya put her sandwich, apple and banana in her lunch bag, grabbed a yogurt and put that in as well. She checked the clock, the glowing green numbers stated it was two-thirty four. Sam would be home at around five-thirty. Until then she had the place to herself. She sighed and put her lunch bag in the fridge.
She had been so stoked when she had gotten the email from him. She still had it saved on her computer.
Great news! If you don’t mind living with a 25 year old guy, the apartment is yours! I really had fun chatting with you the other day, and I think you’d be a great fit here.
I was thinking $600/month, how does that sound?
I was also thinking we could split the grocery shopping and share food, and if there was something special that one of us wanted all for ourselves, we could simply put our name on it.
Please tell me your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Very quickly they had learned that the peanut butter cups in the freezer were Sam’s and the butter tarts on the counter were Kya’s and pretty much everything else was communal. She felt that it worked well for both of them.
In her room, Kya picked some clean clothes from her laundry basket. She pulled out a beige knee length skirt and hung it up to wear later in the week, and found a black skirt made of t-shirt material that wasn’t too wrinkled to wear the next day. She paired it with a light purple button down blouse and a deep green cardigan. A pair of dressy black flats would complete the outfit. As far as work outfits went she thought it wasn’t too bad, definitely not boring, but also fit the strict dress code of Starlife Technologies.
Kya looked at the clock as she flopped fully clothed onto her bed, it was only three-twelve in the afternoon. Time felt like it was slowing down as she shut her eyes for a moment of rest.