I only have 12 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds of freedom left and I feel utterly paralyzed. Though I have never met any, the Old Ones say that the last 24 hours are the worst, that the paralysis sets in and there’s nothing you can do about it. I believe it now. I always swore that it would be different for me, that I’d be Partnering with somebody – or several somebodies – up to the last second. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There are those who whisper that our last vaccination, always given at puberty, contains a drug that keeps our minds and bodies ready and open for Partnering and that its effects wear off exactly 24 hours before our twentieth birthdays. I believe that now, too. It was as if a light went out in my head and between my legs. The very idea of Partnering makes me sick to the stomach. If it is a drug wearing off, it’s damn timely and effective.