Part 2

He arrived today. My partner John Alistair.

He waved awkwardly at me from the doorway of our assigned residence. “You are very comely. Our children will be beautiful.”

My face scrunches in disgust. He is meeting me, his equal partner, and all he can think to speak about is my appearance? Not my occupation or my life philosophy or my background. I had learned in freshman sociology bearers were judged on their appearance and in segments, but I hated to be reminded of unfortunate realities in my own home.

“Listen, John. Most men in our position treat this like a functional relationship. I’ve just decided that’s what we’ll be doing. Friendship is off the table and, especially not anything further. I won’t question your preferences but I am asexual like most people.”

He nods, disappointed, which irritates me. He has everything a man could ever want. What right does he have to be disappointing by a single denial?

My whole childhood, I didn’t realize I was a bearer. Me and the other kids in the orphanage would play together at equal status. We roughhoused, anyone could play president, and nearly all of us were good at math. I was even voted as “most likely to be a future leader” in the house.

Everything changed when Nikolai searched for my advent certificate.

Kofi Sarpong —

Advent 3/15/1995 3:47pm—

7lb 6oz —

Biological Assay Determined: Suitable for Bearing.

I came upon all of my floor hovered over my certificate. Their eyes peered over me from head to toe. The boys never looked at me the same way.

I never again felt as secure around them.

I would walk in on hushed conversations about how the hormones they pump into bearers messes with their judgement so they could never be leaders. At Mass, the priest would comment about how bearers must submit to their partners, as if God did not create both of us in His image. Teachers were suddenly concerned about the appropriateness of my attire and how I sat. I was suddenly expected to use cover-up on my blemishes and eye circles before interviews or even just before going out into public, when, for Non-Bearers, it never matters.

My whole adulthood, I’ve never known why I had to be treated differently because of my status decided entirely at random by the genetic forces of biology.

“John, just know you’re lucky, you NB.”