Rita shut the door and was ready to start the day. Typically, it only takes her four minutes to get to school but today she was going to take her time. It was Monday, and every Monday Rita was upset that she had to return to school. It marks the end of a fun weekend that she gets to spend with her family. Most of the time, her Dad is too busy working in the factory to spend time with her. He tries his best to make time, and Rita knows it is not his fault, but it is difficult for them to connect. A car passes by Rita quickly and startles her. Although she is standing on the part of the sidewalk farthest from the road, the 2020 Lincoln Continental produces a strong and alarming sound that sends her farther from the street. Rita, like most of her classmates in school, has only been in one of the new techno-cars on special occasions. To her and the rest of her 10-year-old friends, their hovering above the road is intimidating and seemingly dangerous. Rita picks up her pace and begins to march towards the school building.
La Escuela de Salvador Allende is only two blocks from Ritass home in Santiago. Often times she and her younger brother will go to a schoolyard setting with their oculus at home and play hopscotch. Rita loves hopscotch and jump rope and looks forward to seeing that school yard through the devices camera each day. Today, unfortunately, Rita is dreading the final steps of the walk towards an actual school building. She slowly and cautiously enters the school building when she is greeted by her best friend Ruby. Ruby, like Rita, is dressed in overalls with a white collard shirt. Ruby has long, dark black hair that is always tied tightly in a ponytail. She is very tall for their age and is almost four inches taller than Rita.
So, did you end up asking him? Ruby asks Rita.
No, he was really tired and nervous about something at work so we just played in the park.
You promised you would ask him this weekend. Ruby sternly says.
Well did you even ask? Rita turns her attention away from her feet and looks at Ruby.
And? Rita asks excitingly.
They said yes!!! Ruby screams, smiling so hard that her eyes are completely shut.
Rita hugs Ruby and the two walk into the classroom together. Although Rita is happy for her friend, she is also a little jealous. It was Rita’s idea in the first place for the two girls to ask their parents for the new robo-dog this weekend so they could raise them together. It was her that suggested the two turn them on at the same time so they could share this experience as best friends. Rita takes a seat at her desk next to Ruby and cannot help but let out a sigh of sadness that Ruby fortunately does not notice.
My Dad said we can go pick one up this weekend. Maybe you can ask your parents tonight so we can still buy them at the same time? Ruby says trying to make Rita feel better.
Yeah, I guess I can just ask tonight. Rita feels her stomach drop as she begins to get nervous. She does not think her father will say yes. Often times he tells stories of his old dog Baxter and preaches that nothing will compare to the friendship those two shared, especially not a friendship from an artificial pet. The lights in the classroom dim, and the hologram turns on. Like every day, President Gorrospe address the children with a good morning and the singing of the national anthem. It is time to start the school day.
Now, hours later, Rita packs up her Chilean government issued tablet and prepares to walk back home. All day she couldn’t help but consider the appropriate way to ask her father if they can purchase a robo-dog. She does not want to seem entitled or spoiled but also thinks it is only fair that she gets one if Rubys parents said it was ok.
I have been so good lately and the dog will keep me company when I am home alone. She thinks to herself as she nears the end of her walk. The streets are nearly empty, besides a few other children walking home and a couple of meal service cars delivering each familys dinner for the evening.
It is now or never. Rita thinks as she turns into her yard and walks towards the door. She scans her handprint and walks inside.
It iss extremely quiet inside, the sink is running, and Rita assumes it is just her and her mother.
Hey Mom, do you know when Dad will be home? Rita says as she drops her things down and walks towards the kitchen. No one responds and Rita continues her way to the kitchen. She does, however, notice that her fathers things are set aside in his office.
He is home early.
Rita turns the corner and sees her mother and father sitting by the kitchen table, a large box set between them.
What is in the box????