Story: Gaia

January 26, 2011
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I had done something no human had dared to do for three thousand years.

The cratered black rocks of our wall had gradually started to turn into an ash grey. This would inevitably mean repairmen, a new addition to somebody’s routine. Mother would have noticed this change, just as she noticed precisely how fast my finger nails grew. Just as she reacted to any change - with the speed of light - which is one hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second, by the way.

It was morning eight hours twenty-four minutes forty- six seconds seventeen milliseconds and 0.2 nano seconds when father called building services and mother instructed me to prepare for my eight, twenty-six o’clock outside playtime. From the window I could see the sun was a vivid glow of warmth, adding light to the shadows of the previous night. Early buds were arising from the deep flesh of Gaia and the clouds were parting, to reveal, the usual abnormally beautiful day.

The house was still, like an awaiting tiger ready to pounce on eight-thirty. As I was waiting outside the door, I peered over my shoulder to casually glance at the desk. It was snug between the chimney and the mirror. It had various objects upon its surface such as, a precisely arranged pencil case and two books titled; “Difference. To be avoided” and “Time flies! Enjoy right now!” These were the books that were mandatory in my school, even for my delicate age group of twelve. What had struck my interest was a watercolor set on the table, that wasn’t there before.


“Your mother tells me, you did something that upset her. Am I right?”, laughed my grandfather.

“Yes.” I hesitated when confessing my crime, ‘I painted a blade of grass blue’ I said hoarsely.

I saw he was in mid-gasp, attempt to swallow my previous sentence.

“Why did you do such a thing?” he questioned further

“I just wanted to see what it would be like if there was no difference between the sky and the ground”

His face was still, like a porcelain statue; tranquil but on the verge of showing cracks.

“Well let me put it simply; you know that Gaia is made in a certain way. Said Papi slowly “And that’s how it should always be. Don’t you want grass to stay green and the sky to stay blue?”

“Of course I do…but.”

“But what? You know a great man once said; knowledge is more important than imagination”

“ What made him great papi?” I asked

“You’re mother is right. You are a bright little girl, but still too many questions!”
I shot him a stern look

“Alright.” He huffed, “He was great because of that quote; knowledge is truth, science is truth. Imagination is little bits of truths to make a whole lot of non-sense”

I nodded my head slowly, although I didn’t understand.

“Which reminds me, what are you learning about in school?”

“Kwan-tm-die-mic”, I stuttered

“Quantum dynamics! Great stuff!”, He gloated.

The outside window gave way to colored blurs of people passing, walking along their footpaths. Their unblinking eyes stared straightly in front of them; there was no hesitation of any sort, not even a glance at their surroundings. Papi tapped his fingers on the chair and cleared his throat before he spoke again.

“You do know about our history don’t you?”, he leaned forward towards my face, I saw my pale grey eyes reflected in his.

“We have history?”

“Of course. But not anymore ”

“What?...But that impossible. If we have a dimension of time doesn’t it me—“

“Listen child! Too bright this one, we’ll have to change this”, He muttered.

“Since the lights, the birth of Gaia we have carried an equal responsibility with the rest of Gaia. Yet our ancestors became possessed with a hunger; a desire for change Constant change meant inequality! It meant development! Of course Gaia had to suffer for what our ancestries did, but what a lesson they learned! The day the storm approached, with great clouds and raging seas!

Papi was an avid storyteller. He rattled with anger when he spoke of the suffering of Gaia, he spat in the corner of the room, leaving a dark stain on the red carpet. He would as well hysterically wave his arms and cackle with laughter.

“Every Friday we eat a special meal provided by our leaders to remember that day. That day is to remember our mistakes. The people who stepped forth from the storm were an enlightened populace, who created the way of life the way we live by today. Gaia has finally been rewarded with the full attention, respect and authority it merits.”

“What were our ancestors names?”

“Why would you ask that? Up to this point you seemed quite smart”

I felt hurt with this statement but continued

“Okay then, how were they enlightened?”, I asked.

“Because they saw their previous society was sick. They thought they were the most important thing in the universe. But in reality we were insignificant. Suddenly they understood how to change. Never to.

“To what?”

“CHANGE!”

“Oh”, I timidly muttered

“The leaders have declared that without change we have perfection”

“What would life be with change?”

This conversation had started to intrigue me; my grandfather’s honesty was mesmerizing.

“Imagine about your dog Trevor; gone. What would you feel?”

Suddenly an image of brown folded ears under a beautiful sky sprung to mind. Soon after, slowly dissolving to non-existence.

“I guess…I would feel sad”, I choked, holding back tears. My face shook with this strange liquid running down my cheeks.

“AH HA!” Papi squealed. He kept on ranting, “SEE?” a long time passed and soon he handed me a handkerchief. As I wiped my tears, he cleared his throat and continued.

“So you see that if Trevor doesn’t change, you’ll be happy. Our leaders have made certain that everyone will be happy. Forever”

Papi’s expression was angelic, serenity passed across his face as though I had lost him to the heavens.

“Well Gaia is responsible for all of this, her miracles are endless. You must remember that we are not superior to her or anything else, we are part of her”

“How Papi? She is truly great!”, I exclaimed

“We help her survive, all our actions affect her. Quite like that stunt you did today”, He said shaking his head

“What would it be like if I painted you blue? You wouldn’t be able to breathe not to mention, you would look very silly.”

“Yes Papi” I sighed

“You don’t want that for Gaia do you?”

“No Papi”

That evening, looking out the window again I could see the sky was melting into a poppy red, with tints of purple. People were returning to their homes, again in their natural mechanical walk. By this point I had absorbed everything my grandfather told me about my world, but still there was still so much to understand.

“Ah Gaia enters her slumber, it is soon 7:30:30:00. I hope you appreciated that I stepped out of my routine for you.”

“Yes I’ve appreciate it very much…its funny I know everybody’s routine except yours. What do you do?” I asked

“Well. I wake up, eat, sit in this chair until 1:00:00 p.m exactly, eat, and sit here again till I feel tired. As you can see I am very busy”, He huffed

“Oh yes. I am so very sorry” I apologized

“Yes, well you are forgiven. Any more questions?”

I glanced around and noticed a picture of Granny in a sterling silver frame. She stood on a green hill with a floral hat. A banner in the background had the word “Holiday”; a very rare occasion in my world.

“Where’s Granny?”

“Granny is in slumber, in Gaia’s hand. She had done her duty to Gaia”, He pronounced proudly.

“But don’t you miss her?”

“No of course not. We can’t let Gaia starve, anyway it was her choice. She was a strange woman, that one”

“So was everyone else who went into slumber Papi”, I reminded him

“Yes, never become like them. Questioning things, never following routines, being sad all the time, tsk tsk”

“Also, why do we battle with our neighbor?”

“SPT191 K0-1 Attack. That is why my dear! That attack from our “friendly” neighbors has proved to us that they are threats! We must protect Gaia and our way of life!”, Papi exclaimed,’ You must remember we are insignificant in this universe.”

“But—“ I was cut short with Papi’s enraged voice

“Not to mention Gaia needs to stretch out its wings, to populate like us. As we are its little beings we must support its growth!”

“But I’ve heard it is a horrible battle. There are other beings living there! What is happening to them?” I gravely asked

“They are not beings, if they are not Gaian. Do not worry about them, besides the leaders have ensured that this battle is very necessary”

“There are rumors that the core jewel is behind all of it. Is that true?” I abruptly said

“It is true that there are core jewels on that planet”, He whispered softly, “But-- But Gaia is our duty! Our motivation! Our purpose!”


At this point Papi was roaring, leaning far from the edge of his chair, his patriotic fist in the air.

“Really? Cause I heard” His voice buried mine once again

“Leave! You ask too many questions! You have learned enough!”

“But I have more ques--”

“LEAVE!” He hollered, a rattling finger pointed to the door.

“Fine. Just sit here in your chair as you’ve done all your life. Sit here and think that people disappearing and endless battles are okay. You know what, don’t think at all!” I stomped out the door, and slammed it behind me.

In the dead of the night, when it was past the designated curfew. My grandfather did something he hadn’t done for as long as he remembered. He sat in his chair, feeling strange liquid run down his face.





Join the Discussion

This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm
Your writing has a very unique style that i greatly appreciate  i would love to read more of your work  could you please check out my story  Manso's Shame  and comment on it
 
taticlairon said...
Feb. 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm
Bravissimo Zoé !I am amazed, frankly, by the quality of your writing. Poetic, sensitive, deep. Tu dois continuer à écrire... :-))
 
Veronique said...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Thank you Zoe for sharing such refreshing and deep reflections on the flow of life ... sweet Zoe, keep reflecting and sharing, and, shall I say ... please do not change?!? 
 
ergo said...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 8:55 am
its a great story did not want it to end.keep on writing more
 
ergo said...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 8:53 am
s a great story I did not want it to end keep on writing more
 
jane said...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 6:56 am
Dear Zoe,  I think this is a brilliant story.  Well done and keep writing. 
 
Penelope said...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm
Dear Zoe, I love your story, smart, creative, lot's of imagination...keep asking questions and never stop...if you stop you will die and please don't believe what others tell you, I don't.    A very big hug to you
 
Zoe S. replied...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm
for those wise words! Its human nature to ask questions, and i hope it will never stop. :) and Its my nature not to believe what other tell me so thats taken care of :) 
 
Jeannela said...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm
This is a 5-star story! And I accidentally gave it only 1!!! I hope other people will be smarter than me...but frankly, the software needs fixing. A story that really made me think--very cool.
 
Zoe S. replied...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm
thank you so much Jeannela :) this has made my day! and you're right don't we love technology? haha 
 
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