camera shy, pt. 1

When they installed all the cameras, all of our problems went away. Anyone could go and watch anything that happened anywhere, so we all lived perfect lives, like on 50's TV. There were problems, but it was never a big deal. We all knew everyone was watching all the time so there was no more crime, and arguments were always minor and you could always resolve them over a drink later on, and we'd laugh about it and we'd all learn a valuable lesson about friendship.

It was freeing, in a way. We didn't have to worry about privacy or anything like that. We didn't need to worry about petty gossip or conspiracy. Everyone was honest and open and accepting.

My girlfriend, Kelly, was a quiet girl. She didn't smile much. She looked out at the world with big brown eyes and never told anyone what she saw. Sometimes she'd smile at me, when we were alone, but we were never alone anymore. Not with the cameras. She pretended to like them but I could tell she was lying. We couldn't talk about it, of course. Everyone would know.

There was still the written word, of course, but she wouldn't tell me anything. She kept a notebook and never showed anyone what was inside, not even me. She smiled less and less. She stopped talking. When we were out to dinner she would just sit and stare into the middle distance, fidgeting with her hands or her hair or whatever. Sometimes I'd ask what's wrong. "Just thinking about my mother," she'd say, and it would be insensitive to pry. Everyone else seemed fine with that as an excuse.

Still, I worried. The life seemed to have gone out of her. But her eyes glittered like she had a secret, and sometimes she talked in her sleep and I felt like I almost caught a glimpse of her plan.

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