For One Day

by Sharon Koshy

For one day

It was surprisingly cold, the feeling of his own breath in his latex coloured space suit which started to choke him from the lack of oxygen. Dan was straining his eyes against the carbon dioxide filling glass bulb which started to dwindle from his dizzying vision. What more could be of the consequential action of making up his inquisitive mind, Dan thought at the back of his head, at least which seemed unaffected by the fading images he brought back from his home. He felt as if something was weighi9ng him down like a huge boulder had been attached to both of his legs. It was pretty sure that he was far away from home on some weird field trip to his uncles house whereby by chance he got locked up in one of his machinery from the experiment laboratory. The image of the off white coloured hair and his toothless smile still seems not to getting settled in his unsettled smile. He saw a bulb less figure walking about calling out something and then everything faded.

Survival was inevitable, sustenance unintelligible. He was in the middle of something fluffy, something soft. From the small crevice of his eyes, Dan saw the same bulb less figure hovering over him carrying a something like a saucepan. It was boy of perhaps his same age. His eyes were still blurred that he wasnt able to make out the appropriateness of his conclusion.

Are you alright? the same figure asked him.

Dan was taken aback. It was like he was talking to himself. He strained his eyes to see himself standing in front of the huge foaming, fluffy bed with a strange oiled face and ragged clothes. It felt like he was looking at a mirror which spoke back to him without any prompt.

yeah, said Dan struggling against the choking in his throat and burning in his lungs. Then he realized even he was not wearing the bulb himself.

am I by any chance in Earth? asked Dan striving to lay on his pillow which was propped up by the boy.

like yeah, dude! What do you think? This is Mars he laughed, rocking his head against the bed post. Dan didnt flinch. It took him another few minutes to absorb the gravity of the true state of things. His eyes were as large as the broken glass bulb on the bed side table. The boy, though seemed having fun a confused lad lying on his bed, kept a safe distance from Dan. In a rush of emotion like the gust of a ground water fountain he broke out and burst into tears, delineating the accidental pulling of the lever of his Uncle time machine which was configured to the year 2014 and how he landed there on his past twins bed now sobbing over what he doesnt even know if exists. It even took him double surprise that he had landed on the same island exactly where his ancestors lived 100 years ago. The young lad sitting next to him was the great-great-great-greatest possible grandfather.

so hey! This is how my DNA survives huh? asked the young boy sneering at Dans red hair shaved off in the sides retaining a circular mound of hair on the crown. Its not that bad. Im Steve. An atheist metal player from Mars would be my grandson. Yeah I can live with that. And then he laughed again shaking the bed o which he had settled himself down as the intensity of the story increased word by word.

what is it like in Mars? asked Steve with an interested expression.

Well. Normal. Said Dan shrugging. But we cannot open the glass bulb unless we are inside our homes. Portable oxygen is available for a stretch of 6 hours, by which time we must have completed our works and go inside one of the oxy-booths.

Thats cool! Answered Steve. Tell me more.

We have schools for 4 hours and the rest of the time we are self taught. We have share jets, to travel. Private transportation is exclusive for the government and the top five men of the presidents office. It gets really hot and cold in the night so we cant remove the protection jacket when we are outside.

Really? the impression had turned to somewhat mischievous. Come outside then. I want to show you something. Steve pulled Dan to his feet and started pulling him to the door.

I have heard about earths gravity. But I had no idea I would weight an extra hundred. It like I have sprouted baggage in a day. Dan found it extremely difficult to what felt like heaving his legs from quicksand and back to the same again expect that the ground was as strong as metal. But what really astonished him lay outside spread like a giant tarpaulin above his head.

Oh my heavens!, exclaimed Dan in complete flabbergast. Why the Inferno is it blue?! the hot liquid blue ocean had filled his eyes and for not a minute could he take his eyes off the magnificent serenity that lay before his Marsian eyes. Steve saw his expression and chuckled.

It is reddish yellow in Mars, isnt it? asked Steve.

Worse, it changes every day but never blue. Wish I could take this home.

Come here then, Steve beckoned Dan to a large vase filled with water.

Liquid H2O? asked Dan to a beaming Steve. Why have you kept it outside? What if someone steals it?

Steal it? asked Steve sneering at Dan but in disbelief.

This is the most expensive thing back home. said Dan touching the liquid and feeling the softness of its viscosity. He smiled at how sweet it felt on his fingers. We lock it up in huge lockers either in the bank or our homes. It is 300 gold pieces for one bottle of liquid H2O there. How much do you get it for in here?

Steve was bey9ond control. He was not anywhere in the vicinity but when Dan looked behind he could see Steve gasping for air as he laughed his heart out at what Dan was telling him.

Dan immediately recalled his science classes in Mars and how his liquid H2O was just water for them and how it was not produced by machines but by rains and naturally found in the rivers. As he was watching Steve rolling on the floor, in slight embarrassment to his ignorance, he saw an animal he have seen only in pictures running to Steve and jumping on to him. Dan stayed where he was trying to comprehend the sight in front him as what looked like a big slimy tongue started moving about on Steves face and he could hear random calls like Scott and stop its.

Seeing the bewildered face of Dans, Steve called out amidst the slurps and fur, you know what Scott is?

d-d-dog? asked Dan reluctantly to which Steve nodded but was muffled by the screams of Scott.

I have never seen one yet except in pictures.

well, we dont have pictures to show Scott right here, he is one among us here.

Well yeah, it feels like Im..Dan trailed off not knowing which word to use best.

Home? asked Steve catching Scott by his collar and pulling him towards Dan.

Steve took Dan to his room where he saw several odd things that mars never gifted him. In of his pictures he was eating a brown coloured chunk which Steve later told him was a chocolate cake. Dan recalled how the government called nutrient and mineral pills as food. In another picture Steves dad was carrying a big scissors cutting off the edges of a overgrown hedge. Dans mom never had anything other than his 200 sq.feet house which was built one over there other to retains space and reduce land consumption. In another one of Steves picture he was ready on his bicycle for a cycle race. Dan had seen it only in body building gyms there as most of the transportation having nationalized was controlled by the government space gliders and tube travels. They never had the warm brown of the soil or blue of the ocean or the calm green of the farm fields. Dan ruminated on the dreariness of the iron oxide red he saw everywhere in Mars as Steve laid on the fluffy homely thing and dozed off with Scott in his hands. His train of thought was interrupted by a ticking of the time watch attached to his wrist.

As he had anticipated his time in earth was over, his uncle was coming to get him and place him back amidst the dreariness. He wanted to tell Steve that one day earth will be like mars, lifeless and monotonous where the air would be like a hailstorm brooding over the atmosphere with the polluted air and acidic clouds. But that was 30 or 40 years into the future. Till then let him sleep in tranquility.

At the back of his he shot something like a mixed prayer to the Gods above, thanking them for the technology to go back and see what it looked like in their real homes and cursing himself for burning to ashes the beauty, peace and loveliness of the same. For if he had a choice he wish he could stay on Earth, to the cherish the life, truth and beauty of at least what remained of his past, Mans past. For that one day, he knew he would make all the impossible possible- for a life without sophistications and deliberations and all sorts of made up things. For earth shared the beacon of hope from the past as always his present home did from the present. He wanted to cherish the flame- the flame of joy, beauty and hope.

The ticking grew stronger in his supersonic trained ears and he prepared to leave his ancestral home once and for all. He rose to his feet and kissed Steve, a long forgotten and forbidden symbol of love wh9ich was punishable in Mars, for physical and sexual relationship was forbidden which was the foundational error of man according to a very old man that lived in Earth many years ago. He got ready for the dreary reality awaiting him in the red planet as Steve swam past the imaginary plot Dan built in his unsophisticated brain.

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