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Leaving This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Space station Voyager's main crew was still awake. Many went to the park or to the numerous parties and celebrations, but a few went to the windows. Most looked for the stars like Sirius and other planets that had been colonized by the humans. Even fewer looked at the faint moving object called Mars, the first destination of this moving home. But only four or five looked at the planet the structure orbited - Earth. Mark Bition was one of them, and he looked without pleasure.

It was wrong, all wrong, to leave this planet behind and rejoice about it, he kept telling himself. Mark was born on that planet and had spent his childhood there. It had always seemed like home to him, even after seeing Tau Ceti 7 and Malcoria, both so similar to this planet. Somehow, though, almost everything just didn't feel right. Not because it was an alien world, (getting used to the differences was easy after a while), but he had once planned to get a pet on Malcoria. The problem was that just as a person's original house, the one that he grew up in, had a certain feel to it, so the Earth had inherited the ability to cast those feelings.

"Mark?"

Mark spun around so fast that he nearly lost his balance. He grabbed a railing and regained his balance, saying, "Please, never do that again, especially in my condition."

"What condition?" James Deron walked into the viewing bar, empty except for him and his friend.

"I think I'm depressed. I can't help thinking about how leaving this place is going to stay with me for life," Mark answered. He moved a bit so that James could look out the window too.

"You see," he continued, "I was born here, raised here, and spent most of my life here. Now we're leaving, and everyone is happy. Except me."

"Yup, you're depressed."

Mark went to get two glasses of juice, saying, "I know we left here for a reason, but it just doesn't seem right. Earth is our mother. When anyone leaves his or her mother, or family for that matter, that person is sad. You as a psychiatrist should know that. We're leaving the mother of us all, and there is no feeling of loss, no regret of leaving, just joy. Why?"

He came back, and James took the juice from his hand. He took a sip, and then explained, "Mark, we left this planet because we wanted to give it a Avacation,' if you will. You yourself wanted to leave. But now we're here, and you can't expect everyone to feel sad. They're happy because Earth is getting its vacation. They are happy because humanity is going into a new era of space.

"Besides, Terra will still be here for several million years. No one ever said we couldn't land here for emergency reasons, just not whenever you like. The people who are celebrating know that. We've fixed the damage we caused, and caused no harm ever since."

"No damage!?! Do you realize that we literally dismantled the moon to build the ships that get us to the planets? No one can even begin to imagine the evolutionary chaos that will erupt! There are thousands of organisms that depend on the moon one way or the other. No damage indeed!"

James put down his drink and gave his friend a firm stare. "That is now Earth's problem, not ours. Life will adjust, all of the organisms will adapt. You're worrying too much. Earth will be all right. To use your analogy, mother Earth is crying but will get over it." He then softened his voice and said, "It will take time, but you will get over it too. It may take years, and you may never fully get over it, but the feeling will subside to the level where you can go on."

James finished his drink, then turned to his friend and said, "I'm going to the park. They're having a festival with fireworks and dancing. You want to come?"

"I'll think about it. Thanks."

"The door's always open, Mark. Come on by if you feel like it." With that, he left.

Mark turned back to the window and just looked. His friend made sense. He would get over it, given time. And Earth would be all right.

And the Earth winked at him. It caught him completely off guard, then he realized that it was Mount St. Helens erupting as forecast. But to him it wasn't a volcano. To him, it was as if the Earth had given him a message - it would be all right. It would still be here, a bit bruised but still here.

Smiling, he drank down one last swallow, put his glass down, and went to join the party at the park. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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