Chapter One- Aspen Mayfair (Democracy)

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Querencia (n.) a place from which one's strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where you are your most authentic self

For me, home has never been within these walls. Home has always been somewhere past the fence that holds society in. A place where I can be myself without wearing a great set of chain link armor to protect myself from society's hands, always trying to mold me to fit their agenda. It would be a place without societal constraints pulling me down, oppressing me until I fit their standard.

Ever since I was little, I wondered what lay beyond the fence. I couldn't help but crave to know what existed beyond the city I lived in, beyond the fields that produced our food, and beyond the fence that kept us locked in.

I guess, though, I was the only one who ever wondered that. No one ever talked about the fence or what lay beyond it. Whenever I asked questions, I was quickly silenced and provided with an unsatisfactory explanation that what lay beyond the fence was dangerous. I was told that the fence served as protection from great unknowns.

But why was there a gate then?

I asked my parents and my teachers this question. No one could provide a response to me. Or, at least, no one wanted to provide me with a response.

Unwillingly, I even resorted to asking my fellow peers on the playground. However, even from a young age, I knew that common sense was not as common as it was made out to be. For some people, the sound of reason is far too faint. Therefore, my peers didn't care to answer my questions or even care to wonder about the forest that lay beyond the fence, apparently harboring great dangers.

Their lack of intelligence and my overly confident attitude in my abilities made me wonder how society was supposed to function if its members lacked common sense or curiosity. It was one day while I was standing on the playground, explaining to some idiot that hair grew from the roots and not the tips when I realized that society was doomed. This person, who didn't even understand basic knowledge, would get the chance to vote on legislation for pipelines and roads.

"Aspen, are you ready for tomorrow?" 

I jolt at the sound of the voice.

My mind comes racing back from the playground to reality. I am no longer a child dominating the playground with a loud, obnoxious tone. I stopped advocating and arguing when I realized people never listened to others; they only listened to the voices inside their minds.

Now, I am sitting in my room, eyes locked on the window that opens out into the city. I can see past the buildings and the fields, my eyes racing over the landscape until it runs into the cold, steel fence. It is so different from everything else that exists in our society. The gray wires twist around each other, forming an impassable barrier that runs a hundred feet up into the sky. Although I have never been close to it, I heard that it buzzes from the electricity coursing through the wires. People have told me that it is even more formidable up close, a constant reminder that what lays beyond is far worse than any reality inside the fence.

"How do you feel about this one?" my mom's voice pulls me out of my thoughts again.

I tear my eyes away from the window, a small void that pulls my attention away from the room and out past the fence. I redirect my gaze to the mirror in front of me, outlined in antique gold and stretching from the floor to part of the way up the wall. Dust has collected along the top edges of the mirror, a sign of my terrible cleaning habits.

My eyes quickly scan my face. I have a nose just a little too big when compared to my thin lips. Blue eyes and blonde curly hair that forms a tangled mess most of the time. Society's standards wouldn't deem my face as perfect. I know that it is just another part of me that society tells me is not good enough. It is another way for me to feel that I will never fit the perfect mold society has cast for us.

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