It made sense, we told each other. Didn't we remember the time where we had seen Margret argue with her husband at the grocery, their hushed voices still reaching our ears? Didn't we recall the incident where Mr. Heinz had moved them across town and she only grudgingly followed? Wasn't it strange how no one knew much about her, how she didn't let anyone close? She had definitely been hiding something, and we had all been tricked into believing that she was as normal as we were. These were the lies we told each other, the fantasies created in the minds of those willing to do anything to ensure their safety for another year.
For this is the type of world that we live in. A world in which the only way to survive is to lie to ourselves, to deny the truths that we see each day. We aren't sure if it has always been this way, but anything else seems impossible. It is all we have ever known or it is all that we can bare to know. Believing in anything else is not only painful, but dangerous. In this world, survival is to become exactly what the government want to us to be. To do anything else, to even think anything else, is to make oneself something that simply cannot exist; an individual. The government made sure of this. Their solution, the Vote, is the ultimate weapon against the chaos and unknown of the individual. It holds the promise of peace and prosperity while crushing anything thoughts against this philosophy. We all know this, deep in the recesses of our minds, but we do nothing to combat it, for how can we?
Days passed and Mrs. Heinz acted like nothing had happened. She tended her garden, read on her porch, disappeared into her home at four o'clock sharp and then reappeared the next morning and repeated the process. What else could she do? She knew what was going on outside her fence, knew exactly what was happening. She had lived long enough, experienced enough from this society that she understood that anything she would try to do in an attempt to quell the furious hurricane would only strengthen it. Her only hope was to wait it out, weather the storm, and pray that it would be pushed onto someone else before her time ran out.
But it did not let up. Instead, it got bolder, stronger, gaining momentum. The government agents returned several times, which only served to aid the rushing tide against Mrs. Heinz. All of us were beginning to realize that we were thinking the same thing, and the subject that had been kept in the darkest parts of conversation was now all that anyone cared about. The rumors quickly replaced talk of local sports teams and foreign affairs at the water cooler. The local paper even went so far as to publish a story about Mr. Heinz's disappearance, and while it did not specifically state that Mrs. Heinz was behind it, it was clear what the author's intention was. This seemed to open the floodgates and we all took advantage.