Matched Chapter 21

We begin with Cassia saying that she’s finding it hard to concentrate. I would imagine that’s true. In order to concentrate you need to possess a brain and that toaster she uses as a surrogate doesn’t have a lot of processing power. She says that burning his napkins have becomes the hardest thing she’s had to do. Well, other than the rope climbing in gym because she can’t manage it and everyone always laughs at her.

Let’s see, she gets an email at work that simply says to come to the supervisor’s office. This is supposed to be tense because it’s short and doesn’t explain anything though for once Cassia doesn’t worry herself mad about it. She goes in and the “gray haired” “Official” congratulates Cassia. This is presumably for the promotion which she applied for earlier. As it’s not said right away, I’m going to pretend that Cassia won the pit lottery and she can leap into a pit of scorpions for the amusement of “the Society” which will put her family in good standing once again.

The random “Official” tells Cassia this means she’ll be involved in a real life “sort”. Which means that everything she’s done up ‘til now has been boring, pointless busywork. And why is that, Ally? Even if they’re not actually “sorting”, why not have them go through the same projects the professionals do? They don’t have to actually get the right answers but the people who get closer, or maybe even better, results than the people doing the actual job get promoted up. Otherwise, why waste the resources like the electricity or computers they use? Why not just have them do puzzles or Rubik’s cubes all day long?

This is happening quickly. In fact, everything seems hurried lately: the hasty removal of the artifacts from personal residences, my mother’s sudden trip, and now this, more and more of us leaving school early in the year.

Maybe Cassia lives not only in an alternate future but on an alternate planet. One where horse tranquilizers flow like water and everyone is sedated so much they all see the world like Max Payne leaping through a doorway. That’s the only way Cassia could believe things are moving too fast. That’s like saying continental drift is happening too fast or that nuclear waste decays too quickly.

In the afternoon my mother receives a message at work: Go home and pack. She is needed for another trip; it may be even longer than the last one. I can tell my father doesn’t like this; and neither does Bram. Neither do I, as a matter of fact.

Maybe your mom is having an affair with an imperfect clone of Gregor Mendel, Cassia. One who’s been spliced with the DNA of the closest thing they have to a superhuman in “the Society”. He remains hidden in a remote arboretum, continuing his experiments on people. He’s the one responsible for putting in their expiration date on modern humans. After all, only he gets to keep the secret to immortality.

I’m sorry, I think I drifted off again. Yes, Cassia hate something the government is doing because eit impacts her. Also, we’re treated to a  couple of paragraphs of Cassia’s mom packing her suitcase and being told what she’s taking along.

Oh, and Cassia somehow sees her mom is missing a green tablet. Cassia automatically talks about how it’ a secret and like her mom just flashed her MI6 badge at her and now she’s in on the conspiracy. Just because it’s not in her pill case doesn’t mean anything, Cassia. Your mom could need a steady supply of them in order to deal with you on a regular basis. But no, Cassia knows that she must be dealing with something stressful if she’s taking the green pill.

On Monday morning, Ky and I walk into the trees and find the spot where we stopped the time before. We start marking again with red flags. I wish it were so easy to begin where we left off in other ways. At first I hesitate, not wanting to disturb the peace of these woods with the horror of the Outer Provinces, but he has suffered so long alone that I can’t bear to make him wait one more minute.

‘Tell me your traumatic life story?’ ‘I can’t because it pains me so.’ ‘That reluctance only makes me swoon harder. Now I will beg to hear it!’ ‘And I’ll give in, because my spine is made of pudding just like my resolve.’

Cassia says she’s sorry they’re gone because Ally isn’t good at dialogue. Ky just ignores her because he doesn’t care that they NewRice Crispies are gone and replaced with Frosted Flasks. Then Cassia asks who Sisyphus was.

“Someone whose story has been told for a long time.” Ky stands up and starts walking again. I can tell that he needs to keep moving today. “It was one of my father’s favorite stories to tell. I think he wanted to be like Sisyphus, because Sisyphus was crafty and sneaky and always causing trouble for the Society and the Officials.”

Cassia says that Ky has never talked about his father before. We know, Cassia. If he had, we damn well would have been there for it. She says she can’t tell how Ky feels about him but that might be because she’s using a Paolini brand emotion chip and those don’t have any empathy though Chris does promise that it’ll be fixed in a firmware update that’s coming any day now.

Ky says that there’s a story about Sisyphus—I assume that’s code for his dad—once asked an “Official” for his weapon to see how it worked then turned it on him. Ky says that’s an olds story as they don’t carry weapons anymore and Cassia says that’s because the threat of “Reclassification” is more than enough. That just confirms my theory that these people are made from liquid stupid. I’d think that would be evil governing, lesson one. Never hand over a weapon to a civilian just because they ask.

Blah blah blah, Ky draws more parallels between himself and Sisyphus. He tells Cassia about the rolling rock and she says it isn’t that bad until he tells her how it always rolls back down again. Then he keeps talking like Sisyphus was an actual person and not his dad so Cassia asks if Sisyphus existed.

Ky pauses for a moment before he answers, his eyes wide and deep like the oceans in other tales or like the sky in his own. “Even if he didn’t live his story, enough of us have lived lives just like it. So it’s true anyway.”

By that logic, Saving Private Ryan is a documentary. They go back to marking stuff and Cassia just now realizes that the light woods aren’t perfectly safe. She remembers how Ky spied on her and saw her reading the poems she had hidden. And knowing how long it takes thoughts to get through Cassia’s head, the government has already figured it out, set her under surveillance and has the rat mask ready to clamp on her face by the time she gets to the top of the hill.

Then Cassia asks a lot of stupid questions. ‘Why do you throw the games? Did you know Xander knows? What color are your eyes? Can we have lunch now? Is my face melting or is that just a side effect of the knockout gas we’re being sprayed with?’ Ky’s answers are; because he has to, yes, blue, eat a dick and that’s because you forgot to bring a gasmask.

Then they talk about his eyes, seriously. In a book that Amazon reviewers, who gave it five stars, dare to say is “quite good”, has “a bit of romance, a bit of mystery, a bit of suspense.” And that “Cassia is a perfect narrator: she’s smart, curious, and observant, and she can think things through, but most importantly, she’s just a normal teenager.” And they’re sitting around talking about Ky’s eyes. Long story short, Cassia thinks they change colors.

They don’t say anything but go back to work, again. Then Cassia tells us she’s in love and it’s not with Xander. She starts angsting about “the Society” and if it fell people would suffer. Also, who is she to try and change things and blah blah blah. Newsflash, Cassia! You being in love with someone who wasn’t picked for you will not usher in the downfall of the world.

They get to the top of the hill and get back to letters. Cassia says they’ve been going alphabetically but he’s showing her how to make a K. Ky says it’s a good letter to know then Cassia asks if the next letter she can learn is a Y. Then they recreate the scene from Ghost with dirt in place of the pottery wheel and a lump of wood filling in for Demi Moore.

Their hands touch while they pile rocks in front of a tree and Ky says that he can’t be “Matched” because of his social status. Whoa, tiger. Who said anything about being matched? Maybe Cassia wants to take a test drive before she signs a lease. And it’s a bit creepy, the way he just puts that out there. It’s like telling someone that you’d like to marry them but you’re not financially ready while on your first date.

“But if you were Matched,” I say softly, “what do you think she’d be like?”

“You,” he says, almost before I’ve finished. “You.”

‘But only because the alternative is some nameless woman or Em,” Ky added. ‘And I’m quite done working solo, if you catch my drift.’

They don’t kiss or anything because these teens are more chaste than an Amish couple or Ally has forgotten what hormones do to you at that age. Then she paraphrases, saying she can’t go gently now, not for the sake of anyone. Not even Xander. Which would be a shock if they had an actual history but they’ve only kissed a couple of times and that doesn’t exactly cement their romance.

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2 Responses to Matched Chapter 21

  1. maeverin says:

    have we learned any personality traits that would make Ky want Cassia? I mean besides Ally said so.

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