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Last Minute

A mother discovers the hard truth at the very last minute

By Gal MuxPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Last Minute
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

I pushed Levi’s wheelchair as we neared the checkpoint.

He was already too excited at this point to control it himself and I did not want us to be any bother to the people behind us in the queue. He grunted in joy all the way, saliva trickling down from the side of his mouth. I didn’t bother to ask him to wipe it or try to contain himself.

This was the closest he had ever gotten to rainbows and butterflies. If he could speak, with no doubt he would have called it the best day of his life!

His father had been working on the Mars project ever since our son had been born and even though he couldn’t tell him his feelings, Levi had always been fascinated when his father tried to explain his job to him. He followed every single piece of news about it celebrating the wins and sulking in the losses. It was his way of bonding with his father I imagined, as he had been mostly away ensuring that the human race did not plunge into extinction.

We had both been recruited to work on the project from back in college, but I had to drop out after our son was born to care for him fulltime. I hoped that even in my absence my contributions would be incorporated even in the final phases. After all, my husband was now a lead in it.

While many scientists were adamant that science would play a key role in passenger selection, I always proposed that humanity should prevail as there was no definite answer to how human physiology and psychology would react to prolonged life on a strange planet. I had been making good progress with my propositions and following through the years, it seemed many shared in my sentiments.

The gods really do have a sense of humour as when I first held my son in my arms, I could clearly see why I had been fighting for humanity all these years. The pregnancy had been a smooth one. The scans and tests had not revealed anything unusual.

I always told Levi we would be given first priority on the ships as the family of a staff member on the project. He would grunt in excitement.

At the checkpoint, I ran my wrist across the reader on the wall.

“Access denied,” came the voice from the machine.

I tried again.

“Access denied,” the machine announced again.

I was confused.

I took Levi’s wrist and ran it.

“Access denied,” the robotic voice went again.

I retried even more confused. The results were the same.

The guards behind the machines were now frowning but didn’t say a thing.

I stepped aside, pulled Levi’s wheelchair near me to give way to those behind us, a part of me hoping their access would be denied too, which would confirm what I thought to be a faulty machine.

To my surprise, each of them went through with no hassle. Even the mother with the limping kid.

I excused myself and tried to scan my wrist again hoping that there had been an error previously.

The result was the same.

That’s when I decided to call my husband.

“Cedy, the machine thingy will not let us through. We are at the checkpoint. Can you come down here and see what’s wrong?”

He hung up without saying a word.

A few minutes later and after our painful watching of other passengers walk through without any trouble, my husband came through the door that was just next to the checkpoint.

“ What’s up. Why can’t we get through? Can you check?” I asked him the second he was a breath away.

He was expressionless.

I could read him like a book. This was not good.

“Cedy?” I asked him again, “ You did submit our details in time right? That’s not the issue here, right?”

I could hear Levi grunting probably asking the same questions I was.

“ I’m sorry Rhea,” he finally uttered.

“Sorry?” I was now genuinely confused.

“I’m sorry,” he uttered once more as he attempted to leave.

I held his hand and strongly pulled him towards me. My blood was boiling in my veins. I demanded answers.

“ What is this Cedy? Tell it to me to my face! Tell it to your son to his face!”

He stuttered. I shook him.

“ Tell us now Cedy! Explain to us what this is!”

“Please. You are causing a scene,” he said trying to free himself.

I didn’t care. I was livid. I was screaming at him.

By this point, I already knew what all this was. How could he do this to us at the very last minute. How could he do it to his son?

“ Your son is a retarded, dumb cripple! He is of no use to the future of the human race. You are a pain painkiller addict. Your family has a history of mental illnesses Rhea. This is not about me. It’s not about us. It’s about the future of humans. The Earth is dying. You know that. And humans need to survive so that they can go to higher frontiers. We need strong humans.”

I was taken aback. Speechless for a moment.

At that point, as though transparent I saw Cedy for who he truly was. Why had I chosen to see him for what I thought he was all these years?

I could hear our son grunting. This time in pain. I tried to hide my pain.

“So who is taking your two staff spots?”

He didn’t have to answer.

“Hello Rhea,” came the familiar voice of his mother.

She nodded to her son, walked on, scanned her wrist and was allowed entry into the voyagers zone.

“ She is in perfect health. She successfully raised two lead scientists and is still in her child bearing years,” Cedy uttered as I stood there dumbfounded. “ The algorithm selected her as the most preferred candidate from my family list. And due to her age it cost me double to have her on the voyage.”

I didn’t want to hear anymore of this. I pulled my son’s wheelchair ready to turn back.

“ I will still take care of you. Both of you Rhea.”

Levi took control of his chair and turned. He didn’t even look back to bid his father farewell. He was bawling all the way home. I found my strength to follow behind him.

We still receive deposits from the space company. With them I make sure we are comfortable. They still haven’t reached their destination yet. And the Earth hasn’t died yet. We will be long gone before it finally does. But the pods in the ships will help the voyagers live much longer. Levi is no longer interested in stories about the voyage. He locked himself in his room as my family and I watched the launch live on television.

When we met in college, I knew right away I would never be his first choice. Cedy loved space exploration too much. I did too, but clearly not as much as he did. What I didn’t know is that nothing could come between him and his grand ideas for the future of the human race.

Not even the love he might have had for his son.

Cedy did care for the future of the human race. But he will never truly know what it is to be human.

Short Story

About the Creator

Gal Mux

Lover of all things reading & writing, 🥭 &

🍍salsas, 🍓 & vanilla ice cream, MJ & Beyoncé.

Nothing you learn is ever wasted - Berry Gordy

So learn everything you can.

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Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (1)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a year ago

    Cedy is such a cruel man. Poor Levi and Rhea. Such a heart-wrenching story!

Gal MuxWritten by Gal Mux

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