The world right now seems even more so the type of place I want to desperately leave.
Make it stop!
Copyright 2014, E. J. D’Alise
Claire covered her ears. The words became indistinct, but she could still hear the tone. Anger. More anger. Loud. Louder.
It was always the same . . . One of them said something, usually something Claire did not understand. It triggers a snide retort, and that lead to accusations, and accusations lead to yelling.
Claire closed her eyes, shutting them tight as if doing so would also shut the noise. It didn’t. Her tightly closed eyes did not stop tears from forming and silently rolling down her cheeks, disappearing into the fabric of her nightgown.
She lost track of how long before the yelling stopped. She removed her hands from her ears, and waited. She could hear no sound, but she did not yet dare hope that it was over. A minute, then five. She opened her eyes and stared at the closet door. The small space was her refuge, her escape. She got up, and cautiously opened the door. Climbing into bed, she pulled the covers up to her chin, holding them tight.
As she drifted to sleep, Claire counted the years, months, and days until adulthood. She would leave this place, these people, and find peace. Find a true refuge.
Twenty-two years old Claire hugged her knees as she watched the images flash across the screen. As if those were not enough, a scrolling marquee told of other horrible events.
War. Riots. Killings. Bombings. Famine. Disease. Hate. More hate.
She rocked slightly, hugging her knees even tighter, as if doing so made her small enough to escape what seemed a world gone mad. It was not enough . . . she would never be small enough.
She turned off the television, and pulled the covers up to her chin, holding them tight. For a moment the quiet enveloped her, and then she heard a siren in the distance. Someone’s life had just taken a turn for the worse.
A tear rolled down her cheek as she realized there was no refuge. There was no place far enough, no closet to run to for escape . . . the world was too small.
Have you ever looked around your office, and I mean really looked, and found the place was kind of messy?
Messy enough that you would not want a stranger to see it?
“How did it get like that,” you wonder?
You start to pick things up, filing some stuff, throwing other stuff away. But the mess is too much for a quick clean-up. All you end up doing is rearranging a few things, and promise yourself you’ll not only not let it get worse, but will clean up the place.
Only, a month later you notice that it’s worse.
That’s how the world feels right now.
Copyright 2014, E. J. D’Alise
Joe stepped up onto the wrap-around covered porch. He put down the duffle bag he carried and turned.
To his left a thick wall of trees seemed to swallow up the driveway that came up from the main road. To his right, a small patch of grass sloped down to the water, and the view opened up onto a five acre lake. All of it was in the middle of a 35 acre parcel of land.
He turned to look at the house. Smallish, but enough room for him. He dug into his pant pocket and took out the key to the front door.
The inside already held his belongings. They had been delivered the week prior, and the local realtor had been kind enough to be here to receive them and make sure they were unloaded properly. Joe looked forward to setting up the few things he had kept.
He thought of Claire. She would have liked it here. She had lost her battle with cancer a few years back. Joe had known what he would do when the time came. He suffered through the condolences, the words of concerned family and friends. He did not need to hear them, but it helped people to speak them.
He went to one of the boxes and pulled out a coffee maker. Six cups ought to do just right.
He walked out and sat on the chair by the door. He could hear the coffee maker percolating. He heard the wind through the pines. He heard a few birds. He listened to the lapping of small waves onto the shore.
He closed his eyes, and rested his head against the wall behind him.
Perhaps he’ll wait a while before getting an Internet hook-up. Perhaps he did not need a hook-up after all.
Do you know what I think? I think humanity needs a frontier.
We don’t have one, you see. They say space is the next frontier, but there is nothing in the immediate horizon that will open that particular frontier to regular people.
A few millionaires will go up in orbit, but there won’t be the equivalent of forty acres and a mule opening up travel to the stars. An asteroid and a space tug as an incentive for people to venture off-planet is not around the corner.
People don’t want to admit it, but the universe wants to kill us. Everything out there is multiple times deadlier and more unforgiving than what we face on Earth.
Copyright 2014, E. J. D’Alise
Joe had jumped at the chance. He might have been in his seventies but was still fit. Aside for a few aches and pains when he first got up, he was mobile, still relatively strong, and healthy.
The ideal candidate, especially since by now he had lost contact with nearly everyone from his previous life, when Claire had still been alive.
Joe grabbed the hand-hold to his right, planted his feet, and pushed off. He drifted slightly; something he would eventually learn to compensate. He had about seven months to practice.
He caught the other hand-hold, and pulled himself so that his face was as near to the thick glass as he could.
“Lights off,” he spoke softly.
He looked out at the points of light. As his eyes adjusted, he started to see more and more. It was beautiful.
He sensed rather than saw the movement. He looked over at Sarah, her face also pressed against the glass.
“Sorry; did I wake you?” He spoke in a near whisper.
“No. I don’t sleep much these days.” Sarah answered in kind.
They kept their voices down as they tried to identify various constellations. Tony and Lucy were still in their sleep rotation.
After a few minutes, Sarah turned to Joe.
“Ever have second thoughts?”
Joe thought a moment before answering.
“No. Not even once. You?”
Sarah turned back to the window and did not look his way as she answered.
“No. I dreamed of this since I was a little girl.”
“You dreamed of being an astronaut?”
“No. I dreamed of getting away from Earth.”
“Even if it’s a one way trip?”
“Especially on a one way trip.”
Joe turned to once more look out. Their names would live in the history books, but all four of them would die far away from Earth, setting up and preparing the first outpost for future space travelers. He thought of Claire, as he often did. She would have liked this.
As I finished writing the above piece, and as I write these words, I am listening to this song:
There are those who poo-poo discussions of overpopulation.
“We have more than enough resources!”
“Technology you can’t even dream of will solve most of our problems.”
They do not understand . . . it’s not the depletion of resources, the cost of providing water, delivering food, cleaning up our garbage. It’s the fact that there are so many of us.
It’s about the quality of life, you see.
Sure, by some metric we should be happier than pigs in excrement mud. But by other metric, we are in excrement mud, and not all of us are pigs.
My gut tells me to run away. To go far from the things of man.
. . . but there’s no frontier, you see. Beyond that, there’s no place where the world is not going to touch your life, and that introduces a measure of sadness that permeates every aspect of our lives.
You can have momentary escapes, but everything done by people, even people with good intention, will affect your life beyond your ability to control how it will unfold. Sure, you can’t predict or control most things in your life, but humans are especially good at throwing obstacles in each other’s way.
. . . it gets old . . . hell; it was old thirty years ago.
Well, I hope I cheered everyone up.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.