Earth Day
Bev Vines-Haines

Dillard Pawson brushed red dust from a ridge rock and sat down.  It was a crystal clear night.  He could see earth far above with its lone moon circling.  As always he felt that burning ache, that need to fumble through his brain files yet again, a growing desperation to separate his hopes, his dreams and his reality into understandable compartments within his mind.

Earth turned slowly, its atmosphere clear tonight as well.  Sometimes one or both of his worlds would be wrapped in so many clouds he didn’t have to fight and face his demons.  He used to think he’d once lived there on the earth.  Could almost remember laughing at the idea of aliens, space travel and other civilizations.  He would push those thoughts away, recognize the fantasy and foolishness they represented, and go on with his life.  But last night, like many nights, he’d dreamed the dreams of earth again.  Cities. Cars.  People. Laughter. And the hardest one…love.

He was considered old in this place.  And strange.  Alone.  No one lived with him.  And they never had as far as he could remember.  But people here didn’t live together in the way he thought they did on earth.  Or remembered?

It was all about the thinking.  The being.  Experiencing the reality.  And that seemed to be enough for these people.  Food came through a tube next to his bed.  There were no rules.  He could drink it as often as he wanted to but it was like the life here.  No taste.  No flavor.  No joy.

His home itself was a dubious surprise.  It seemed to him he’d just woken up here one day.  Alive. He’d had a headache.  And every time he started thinking about earth the headache exploded until it was easier to not think about earth.  Or remember. The headaches had stopped long ago.

Everything here was red.  The trees.  The dust.  The sky on a normal day.  Clothes were red.  Houses too.  There were no cars.  If he left this place he just had to think of where he wanted to be and he was there.

He looked up. Why hadn’t he thought of this before?  He wanted to be on earth.  Didn’t he?  He stood up, placed earth in the middle of his frontal thought lobes and closed his eyes.  And in a single moment he felt the redness leave him.  Thoughts soared.  No, he soared.  His lungs exploded with freshness, with freedom.  Wherever he landed it had to be better. 

And any color but red.

First published: May, 2014
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