The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles 1) - Page 58

Lily’s own little Walden, never realized. For this. ‘So you traded an Italian villa and wine for a crumbling Cotswold and an illegal lab pet. You’re not very good at trades, are you, Lily?’

She empties a dustpan of broken glass into the trash and looks at me straight on, briefly, then bangs the dustpan against the can to get off all the last particles. ‘I do okay,’ she says.

The clean-up is done. There is no busyness to keep us here.

We stand there uncomfortably. Our reason for working together has ended, and I still want so much more from Lily. The oafish o

ut-of-step me surfaces, and I cross the thin line we dance.

‘Would I have wanted this, Lily? Would the Jenna you knew have wanted what I am now?’ In an instant I am desperately afraid because I have crossed a boundary. A black-and-white, yes-and-no one.

‘That depends, Jenna,’ she says. ‘What are you now?’

The black-and-white answer I was expecting swirls into murky gray. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Well, until you can answer my question, I can’t answer yours.’


Identity n. 1. The condition of being oneself and not another. 2. The sense of self providing sameness and continuity over time. 3. Exact likeness in nature or qualities. 4. Separate or distinct existence. 5. The qualities of a person that make them different from others.

I check them off.

Different from others. Is one yes out of five enough?

Lily says percentages and politicians can’t define identity, but they’ve defined mine: illegal lab creation. The hand that I have been dealt. Is this what Allys meant?

Allys is so sure of herself. So confident. She calls Dane a decomposing turd without blinking. Without knowing it, she calls me a lab pet. Why am I so drawn to someone who could destroy me? Why do I need her to be my friend?

The dictionary says my identity should be all about being separate or distinct, and yet it feels like it is so wrapped up in others.

The Unknowable

Are there some things I will never know?

The unanswerable I will have to accept?

Have I changed the way everyone does, time and events molding me?

Or am I a new Jenna, the product of technology, changed by what was put in or maybe what was left out?

And if my original ten percent really is enough, what if it had been nine percent? Or eight?

Is one numeral that different from another?

When is a cell finally too small to hold our essence?

Even five hundred billion neurochips aren’t telling me, and I’m not sure they ever will.

The question that twists inside me again and again—am I enough?—I realize, for the first time, is not just my question, but was the old Jenna’s question as well.

And I think about Ethan and Allys and even Dane,

and I wonder

has it ever been their own question, too?


Tags: Mary E. Pearson Jenna Fox Chronicles Science Fiction
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