Just after Joey turned fifteen, his dad left to become a cyborg.
“I have to. My competitors all have implants. This is the only way I can compete.”
His dad sent money, but he joined a hive in Minneapolis and plugged in.
Joey’s mom left to join her husband two years later.
“You’re almost eighteen. You’ll be fine. I love you.”
On Joey’s birthday, he stood among the trees outside the conversion clinic, studying the leaves, deciding. One fell into his hand.
“Now you’re free,” Joey said. But the leaf was brown and dead.
Head down, Joey carried it inside.