There will soon be a young human being to be concerned about. No longer can we carelessly speculate about love lives. Because that could hurt the child. Sure, sure, we could all say the easy things, like, “Briana will make a wonderful surrogate for Harry and Louis,” but we won’t, will we? Because that wouldn’t be right. We must think of the baby. We must help its life be as free from speculation and gossip as possible. So you won’t find any language here about what fine dads those two boys will make. Nothing about Harry handing out cigars in a hospital waiting room. Certainly nothing about about Louis being called “daddy” and Harry being call “papa.” Because that’s not fair. It just isn’t. I’m sorry.
So it’s an exciting time, yes. But, if we’re honest, it’s a bit of a sad one, too.
She is five years old. Her father is distant. Experiments in the laboratory that he won’t let her see. She is too young to understand, he says, when she climbs the stairs and stands hopefully outside the door. She has no mother to balance his mystique, and so she believes that his expectations of perfection are justified. She reads novels before she is six, plays the piano perfectly, but she hungers for the laboratory in the east wing of the mansion, the one at the top of the stairs. Her head barely reaches the door handle.
She is ten years old. Her father is not satisfied with how she is growing; he watches her with the analytical appraisal of a biochemist, searching for flaws to be corrected. The time he passes with her is spent on mathematics, physics, electronics. She breathes the subjects in, far ahead of her age. Once in a while she climbs the stairs in the east wing. Not today, Miri, he tells her each time. You have not earned the right to work in the lab. She will work harder. Her head reaches the glass window on the door but she cannot see inside.
She is fifteen years old. “Not good enough! Try it again!” Have his demands always been unrealistic? She can shoot a pistol with sniper accuracy at the distance of a football field. Her biotics are as destructive as any human could ask for. She slips up in mathematical calculations only once in five hundred problems. And yet something is always too sloppy for him, too imperfect. One day she climbs up the stairs to the east wing laboratory and he laughs, slams the door in her face. And she realizes with cold anger that she will never be good enough for him. She can see into the laboratory now; she is tall enough to see the bubbling tanks and test tubes inside. It is nothing special, and yet it is everything that is beyond her reach.
She is eighteen years old, and she has decided to leave. She is beginning to put clues together; her genetically modified eyes miss nothing. She knows what the new baby means. She knows there have been others before her, and that Oriana is a replacement, destined for the same impossible challenges and loveless life. The door at the top of the stairs is more scratched than she remembers as she hacks the lock and begins to plan.
She is twenty years old. She has never climbed the stairs with the lights off. The house is dark; she moves noiselessly with Oriana nestled against her shoulder. The door ahead of her means nothing. It is merely metal. She is tired of being held back, tired of being controlled. Starting today, she chooses her own destiny. She will never climb her father’s stairs again, never toil in the shadow of his expectations.