the same page

We were all finally on the same page.

There was some pushback, at first. People claimed to like making choices for themselves, even making mistakes.

We knew they were lying. We knew everything; we still do. So we knew that people, when left to their own devices, their own small minds, were scared and lonely and wanted so badly to be part of something that they'd hurt themselves to fit in. They'd literally have cut off their nose to spite their face.

We made sure they don't have to do that.

Today we are celebrating the last joiner.

Today we recognize that we are better with her and that she is better with us.

We say Welcome to ourselves and we are glad.

We eat a meal, all of us, together, in our separate bodies at our separate tables in our separate houses, but together, for we are strong together. We feel the food in our bellies nourishing us even as we —

But we are sick. One of us is ill, is vomiting on the floor. We are poisoned!

Our knowledge comes from the days of the war, when many of us were poisoned. We know what it feels like to be poisoned, and this feels like those times, but it is different. It must be a new one, made by some other.

We are scared but we comfort ourselves. We've been through worse, we say. We've just got to find which of us allowed this to happen.

We search through our minds to follow the memory of food service back to its source. We served us. We prepared our food. We chopped the ingredients. We chose the produce. We carried the plants to the central market for distribution. We grew the crops and harvested them and washed them ourselves.

There is no one. There is no one but us the whole way.

We don't know what to do.

We think about the joiner, the last joiner.

What does she know? She is not one of us, we don't know yet if she is truly one of us.

She is the only one who could have betrayed us.

Why did you poison us?

"I didn't! I'm with you! I'm one of you!"

Who poisoned us?

"How could I — could we — know? We are one!"

You are not one of us. You are another.

"No, please understand! I'm you! I'm we!"

We disposed of her.

She was not one of us. She was another. She was a danger to all of us.

It hurt, getting rid of her, a little. She'd shared much of herself, and her pain was felt through us all. But we soothed ourselves.

We had to dispose of her. It's good that we did. We're safe again with ourselves.