// today i made //
a short story
i’ve been writing.
there, i said it.
i haven’t told anyone, so this is kinda scary.
i do it for myself, but maybe there is something in the words that will resonate with you, too.
I’ve lived here since the day I came howling into the world; screaming like I already knew the injustices it had in store for us. I never knew my mama, she died after pushing me feet-first into this world. The medics weren’t equipped to handle a pregnancy like hers; forced onto a strange world as they were, with meager supplies. A baby girl that was turned ‘round wrong wasn’t part of the plan. First one to be born here, first one to die here: that’s a family legacy if ever there was one.
An anemic breeze shifts the dirt outside the small farmhouse.
“It was once white, this house, but the wind is constantly shoving the sand against it and now it’s the color of old rust. You know the color, like when blood mixes with dirt and dries all cake-like. The shutters were green, a color never before seen on this planet before we came falling from the sky–a rock through our neighbor’s window.”
She pauses, staring at the gleam of sunlight on the institute’s roof, visible through the red haze.
“Nine long months in a metal box, just to move from one dead planet to another. My parents didn’t know I was coming. It was near three months before mama put the pieces together; one last bit of lovin’ on earth before heading to the stars, and I was the result.
My da named me Tera, a sloppy homage to the planet that birthed him. A planet that eventually killed eighty percent of us. But the history books will tell you all about that. If they ever get ‘round to writing them, that is. Not much time for history anymore. It’s all farming and modified genetics. Not exactly the most comfortable of bedfellows, but there you have it.”
A bit of wind touches her hair and moves past, collecting loose sand and hazing the carmine ridges in the distance.
“It’s the art I feel I should miss most. Not that I saw any of it, mind. But my da would tell me about visiting museums when he was young and able to travel from one country to the next. Before the borders all closed. He would talk about the shapes and textures of things, and of course the colors. I don’t know what purple looks like, or aqua. Green is the paint on the faded shutters that mama smuggled into her bag. Da said blue is maybe close to the color of the sky near to the sun as it sinks below the ridges. Kinda soothing-like. But red… red I know all too well. Every damn variation of the color, from burnt umber to the deepest ruby.
They say we’ll go back one day. That the damage will have run its course and we can re-colonize. Will we want to?
I don’t know. Maybe we’ll grow to love this rusted-out planet. I’ve been at war with it since birth, and it hasn’t beat me yet. And y’know what they say: love and hate are one half-step removed. Maybe in a few generations we’ll think of it as home. We’ll paint landscapes of undulating dunes, of cracked and wavering deserts, and call it fine art. The beginning of a red period maybe, since the blue period is forever lost to us.”