The Space Station
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. But I swore I heard her. In my dreams I still hear her. Living on this space station my whole life, I didn't know anything else. Classes were taught in small rooms with windows to the only view I have ever known. Sleeping under the stars wasn't just an expression but a way of life. You could tell the ones who knew differently right away. Their faces had this look of disconnect and hopelessness at the same time. I loved to hear my parents talk of their life on Earth before Earth became uninhabitable. I would sit and hang on every word, every description, picturing one day being able to feel grass underneath my feet, smell the breeze of an ocean. I would waver between begging for a story of their prior life or biting my tongue, as I knew talking about it was never easy for them. I could tell the days when it hit the most, missing who they were before the carbon warmed the planet up by 8 degrees causing a domino effect, ending all livable life on Earth. They would sit and stare out the small cabin window, ghosts of their prior selves. Sometimes I would hear mom's silent cry and dad would console her the best he knew how, but it was too hard on him. He would often pretend he wasn't tired and fall asleep on the small futon, trying to save mom the pain of knowing she was making it more difficult for all.
Check your pockets, that's what they do in the movies anyway. Look for clues of what happened and how I might have gotten here. But as I turned them inside out nothing but dust fell. Shit. Okay okay, next I can retrace my steps. I looked up and all I saw were trees swiping past each window, faster and faster. I looked down the eye of the train and no one was to be seen. I sighed, got up and stood still as I grounded my feet into the floor and spread my arms out to keep from falling.
I can't remember a time I couldn't fly. I'm still unsure if that is a good thing or not. He use to take me away, not just physically, but all the pain would fly away with us. I would lay there, frozen in time, close my eyes and silently urge him to come.
I Hate the School Bus
My daughter had to start taking the bus in 1st grade. Due to the pandemic, as well as a crazy moving situation, she was driven her kindergarten year. At first she was excited to take the bus, what kid wouldn't be? Starting from birth you hear cute songs about buses and see sweet nursey rhyme videos displaying it as a happy environment. How many times are we as parents forced to watch Mother Goose Club or Little Baby Bum and see the adorable animals take the bus in their pretend world where everyone is kind and has a smile on their face? I imagine my highly sensitive and anxious daughter watching these shows, excited to take the trip on the bus and go to school with friendly faced peers. When reality hit, she realized that even though the cow smiled at the pig and moved over to let her sit, this wasn't the way the real world worked.
The Irony of Life
My dad was a strict man. He use to tell people that with 5 daughters he had to be. He had years of medical school and residency and finally a job offer that would leave him with more free time, or so I thought. My sisters and I would do our best to be quiet when we heard him either come home from work, doing the bills, from an exercise run, basically anytime we knew he may be tired or stressed.
I love my job because... It allows for an unbelievable amount of human connection. Human connection which, in a world full of technology, is becoming obsolete. It is still one of the most important reasons to be alive. Connection is a core human need and, especially during this time in the pandemic, loneliness has reared its ugly head in a way that no one ever thought it would. As social beings we are biologically wired to belong and I could spend hours talking to you about the cost loneliness causes yet, in a generation full of texting and social media, I wonder if anyone would believe me. They say we only realize the true value of something once it’s been taken away from us but I have been lucky to realize this all along.
The Pear Tree
I opened my eyes and hit the alarm clock. The sun shone through the wall length windows in our bedroom, a main reason why we purchased the house. I stretched, pretending not to see my wife Eliza next to me as my hand pushed her in the face.