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By Judy Snyder

The first rosy fingers of dawn reached through the kitchen window, to stroke the tear-stained cheek of Suzanne. She barely noticed. Too lost within the labyrinth she called a mind; it did not register that what had been sunset was now sunrise. Suzanne was not a remarkable woman. She was average, and as plain as yogurt sans fruit. If you had asked her to describe herself, she would have said "Un". For she felt she had become an 'un-person'.  She couldn't quite explain it, but it was as if the 'Suzanne' she was, had ceased to exist, and now she was...well nothing.

She felt hallow. No strong emotion pumped through her veins. Not anger, that her husband of 20 years, had looked at her over breakfast the day before, and said "Oh by the way, I'm leaving you", the same way someone would say 'we need milk.' His reply, to her question of why, was just as blunt. "With the children grown, you are longer needed." With that he had packed his things and left. There had been no scene. No reasoning, no anything; just a statement of fact.

Perhaps, it was a type of shock. Men don't leave their wives after a night of making love, the way they would a one-night stand. Do they? You don't decide to chuck 20 years out the window overnight do you?  She began to examine every memory looking for clues as to why.  His words slapped her harder than any fist. 'You are no longer needed.'  She had made it through that day and evening thinking he would call, but it didn't happen. The tears, with the memories of their life together, had slid down her face. Their dried tracks were now all that remained.  She had stood at the window staring into the dark of night. She had become a 'Un'; unneeded, unwanted. She had been abandoned.  Left standing bereft of function.

The sun rose higher in the sky and still she did not move.  There was no need for her to cook, or clean. She had no real job to go to. No friends to visit nor call. All she had ever been was his wife, his children's mother. With them grown and gone, they did not need her. So, what was left? Poor un-Suzanne and her un-life.  It really made no sense to her.  What does a un-person DO? She watched the sun climb until it had passed over the house and listened as the kitchen clock marked off minutes, turned hours. She thought without thinking. Meaning if she had been asked, she would not have been able to articulate the mishmash of random images that oozed through her brain.  Her last clear thought was, what is the opposite of alive?

Brandon McClaire, stood in his new apartment, admiring how sleek and modern everything was.  He had brought Suzanne into his life after his first wife had died, to care for his children, and his personal needs, now that she had taken care of that purpose and seen them into adulthood; it was time to move on.  He watched as a buxom young woman moved easily about the apartment, deftly setting up house for him.  The old Suzanne's movements had become less fluid with age, often he could almost see her joints creaking and groaning.  Yes, she had become...what was the word he sought? Outdated, for the purposes he now had in mind. He no longer needed the motherly type, and on his wages he could easily afford a top dollar companion.  She turned slightly, flaunting her curves, and smiled at him. He felt the warmth of her skin as he ran his hands over her. He smiled; Suzanne had always been a bit cold for his liking.  The phone rang and he answered it.

"Mr. McClaire? This is Elton Electronics. We just were checking to see how Suzanne Model 2042 is working out?  Great!  Yes, sir, we're on our way to pickup that old 2022 model.  Amazing, how far automatons have come isn't it?  Almost impossible to tell them from humans nowadays."

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