Raezana had been a lot sharper a few years ago.  When she graduated from college, she could do complex calculations like addition and subtraction in her head, without a calculator.  Now she had difficulty spelling “subtraction.”  Don’t get her wrong – she didn’t particularly enjoy math, she just happened to be good at it.  She was so good at math, that she “tested out” of calculus in college.  Rather, she took calculus in high school while her peers were taking geometry.  Then she took a test that enabled her to bypass the math requirement in college.

Eh, but does it really matter what the details were?  The important thing to note is that she *used* to be good at math.  Raezana felt like every year she spent in the real world, the dumber she became.  After graduation, she was yanked out of her isolated pool of ubergeeks and academic nerds and thrown into a cesspool of mental waste.  Lost dreams, lost souls, and the regrets of yesterday were her coworkers.  Childhood memories were her flimsy link to sanity.  Or so she told herself.

She didn’t have a particularly good childhood, but it wasn’t bad.  It was okay.  It was a lot better for her before her brother came around.  Brother was a robot that her parents had built together in the 70’s.  Her mother was a scientist and her father was an engineer.  Before Raezana came around, her mother desperately wanted a child.  However, her father didn’t want to pay the medical bills that would be associated with maintaining a healthy pregnancy in a secret lab.

So, they decided to build a child instead.  Raezana was fuzzy on the details, but shortly after Brother was created her mother lost her security clearance and thus her job.  She started hanging out at home with Brother, watching TV and playing videogames.  Raezana’s mother had told Raezana that she’d thought it was the life she wanted before she had it.

She soon became bored.  Brother did not make good conversation because mother had not had the foresight to develop its brain past the stage of four.  She soon became crazy over the constant debates they’d have over whether ripe bananas are better than “nanas”.  She soon realized that she desperately wanted a daughter.

Raezana’s father didn’t feel like building a girl robot for her mother.  And considering that her mother had lost her scientist job and most likely wasn’t going to get it back, he figured, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’  And he knocked her up.  Two years later, Raezana was born.

Brother took Raezana’s birth hard.  He had grown accustomed to being the only child in the house.  He could not stand to share his toys.

One day, Brother disappeared in the night.  The next morning, Raezana’s mother called him to come downstairs for breakfast.  She called him again.  And again.  He didn’t come downstairs.  Then Raezana’s father mused that Brother must have ran away.  They chuckled together and ate their pancakes.  They didn’t care that he was gone.  In fact they were relieved, since they had Raezana to keep them busy.

Brother resented the fact that no one searched for him.  He had spent the morning hiding in a tree in the front yard, waiting for mother to stumble out of the house in tears, terrified.  Afternoon came, and his parents finally emerged.  Dad was carrying Raezana in his arms and the three of them laughed as they left the house in slow motion.  His mother’s hair slowly blew in the wind as she smiled.  They were taking Raezana to the park.  Without him.

Raezana vaguely remembered seeing Brother standing behind the tree in the front yard.  She had tugged on her father’s shirt to get his attention, but he seemed unusually occupied with a butterfly flapping through the yard.  “Look at the butterfly!  Butterfly!” he exclaimed.  Raezana hated butterflies, but she humored him.

As they drove away in the car, Raezana had a feeling that she would never see Brother again.  And it saddened her.  For a moment.  She was going to the park, which was pretty awesome.

Raezana’s backup alarm began ringing from the bedroom.  She was standing in the shower.  How long had she been in here?  She looked at her hands; they were pruney.  She had apparently gotten out of bed at some point.  She was most likely late for work.  Raezana really didn’t feel like going to her boring office job, so she continued standing in the shower.