This is not a life

via Daily Prompt: Cling

Donna wept openly. It was the first time that Sarah had seen her break. It made her uneasy to see her like that; hunched, head hanging over her knees, tears cascading across the pristine white tiles.

Sarah shifted uneasily.

“You can’t let it get the better of you. Not after we’ve come so far.”

“How can I not? We lost everything; the house, the farm, the animals, everything that we worked our whole lives to get is gone.”

“Everyone lost something, Donna. Some more than others… You just have to keep it together. Just be glad that we’re here. That we got to come.”

“I mean, I’m grateful, I suppose. It’s just, I hate living in a city.”

Donna stared out the window mournfully. From their vantage point, in the tower, they could see across the city. The streets were sparse and grey. Citizens streamed between the glassy highrises, vehicles weaved between buildings, elevated roads crisscrossed the horizon. The activity was a distraction, not a comfort. Looking past the city, the evening stars on the horizon made her feel even further away from home.

“Don’t look like that, Donna.”

“What am I supposed to look like? You don’t like the city either.”

“I don’t… but it’s what we’ve got now, right? You need to let go.”

“Jesus, don’t tell me you don’t yearn for it.  What it used to be like.. before.”

Sarah looked at the floor. Donna could see her mind’s eye traveling back.

“The green, the grass was so green. And the trees. The fruit trees in the summer; apples, oranges, pares. Everything was just easier right? You never had to worry about the kids. They could be out. Play all day. Sit in the shade when it got too hot, drink from the stream.”

Sarah’s eyes softened as she let her mind drift for a moment.

“The animals, Sarah, the plants, the mountains, the clouds. I miss it. I miss it so much. It’s like… I feel like a part of me died along with that place.”

“But it’s gone now, you know it’s all gone. It’s dry, lifeless. There’s nothing there anymore, not even water. Just dust. Can’t you just appreciate that you are here in the city now? Your family is here. Your boys. Others weren’t so lucky.”

“I know, I know I should be grateful, but it’s alien to me here… It doesn’t feel right for you either does it?”

“Well, no, but…”

“I just can’t imagine spending the rest of my life here. We’re country girls. What’s life without the long summers, the trees in the autumn, the family by the fire in the winter, the spring.”

“Well, it may not be home, but at least you’re alive.”

Donna stared, glassy-eyed out past the columns of buildings, over the greenhouses, past the atmospheric generators, through the dome, to the endless rocky red landscape beyond. She wiped away a final tear.

“This is not a life.’


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