Picture from Visualhunt
She wasn’t sure how to take the news. It sounded exciting–being the first ones to venture out into space in search of the planet The World Council had come to call Utopia. While Kumi was always looking for adventure, she hadn’t thought that she would find it outside of her home town, nonetheless outside of Earth!
Still, part of her couldn’t understand it. Why did they have to leave? And why now of all times? Things were going really well for her. Great, in fact. She had gotten the lead in the district ballet, something she had dreamt of for as long as she could remember. But now, she’ll never get to step out onto the stage and into the spotlight. They were going to be leaving in only two weeks.
What about Hiroki? They had only just started their relationship. She didn’t want to leave him. Chances of his family also being selected were basically non-existent. The guidelines for The Solution were very strict–two parents homes, with at least two children -one between the ages of 3-12, and another between 13-18. Hiroki didn’t have any siblings. He wouldn’t be joining her on the trip to space.
The Solution stated that the reason for their mission was to colonize the new planets they had found which had atmospheres similar to Earth’s, hence making them sustainable. The World Council had long discussed the problems of over population and food shortages that threatened humanity’s existence. Kumi had seen news reports and learned about the problems in school, but she had never taken notice of them. Maybe it was because she grew up in a time that they had become such a normal part of daily life that the alternative would seem strange.
When she broke the news to her dance instructor and the others in her dance troop, the reality started to really set in. As they came up to her one by one to embrace her, she felt like her world shifted. A realization came over her. In just a few short weeks, she would have to leave everything she’s ever known. She would have to leave her friends, her home, her country… her planet.
She had these thoughts in her mind as she walked back to her apartment. She wanted to remember every detail of her life. As she walked down the street, she tried to see it–to see the problem. She saw the same thing she did everyday. People. Lots and lots of people. As they hurried past her, she suddenly became aware of how little space there actually was to move around in. She filed into the line of people going the same direction down the crowded sidewalk that she was. Was there a time when you didn’t have to line up to move around? Was there a time when you could walk side-by-side with someone down the street, and not get pushed over or bumped into?
Looking harder at the world around her, she slowly began to see it. She realized why they needed to leave. She saw the sad looks on the faces of the people as they swayed back and forth, being bounced around by the shoulders or elbows of others as they passed. She noticed the sunken eyes and the brittle skin that came with the lack of nutrition so common in their diets.
As she walked past the local grocery store, she peered inside. The shelves were sparsely stocked, the same way they always were. Two women were yelling something at each other, each holding on to one end of a loaf of bread. They pulled at the plastic wrapping and yelled, and pulled and yelled, until the packaging ripped, and bread went flying into the air. As it came falling down around them, two more women appeared, as if from nowhere, and began collecting the stray pieces as quickly as possible. She tried to stop to watch the encounter, but the man behind her nudged her forward, muttering something under his breath and forcing her to continue.
When was the last time she ate fresh fruit? She couldn’t remember. A day, two? Maybe a week? Was there ever a time when fresh fruit was common, and people didn’t come to blows over a loaf of bread? As far back in her mind as she could reach, Kumi couldn’t recall a time in which the norm wasn’t the norm; a moment in which the world wasn’t the way it was at that very instant.
When she finally returned home, she had decided how she felt about The Solution. She wasn’t sure how her life would be on the new planet, or how the journey would go, but she knew she was ready for it. Saying goodbye would be hard, but starting the adventure would be refreshing. She only had one option–to go. She might as well make the best of it.
This story has been inspired by the book we are currently working on called The Solution. We will post more information on the book soon!!