Wondering Forward

“Ever look up at the stars and wonder what it would’ve been like?”
“All the time.”
“And?”
“And it’s nothing more than dreaming.”
“Maybe so, but what do your dreams look like?”
“Darkness.”
“Oh, come on now. It can’t have been so bad.”
“How old are you now?”
“Eighteen. Nineteen pretty soon, I think.”
“You’ll have only been a kid then.”
“Yessir.”
“And what do you remember?”
“Little pieces here ‘n’ there. Ma always said I had a terrible mem’ry. I’d lose my screw if I wasn’t… Wait. That’s not right.”
“Lose your head if it wasn’t…”
“Screwed on. Yeah, that’s the one.”
“Well, tell me about the little bits then.”
“I remember running.”
“Oh, man! Letting loose and just having your legs carry you as far and as fast as they could before they cramped with aching. Nothing like it.”
“Trees.”
“Whoever knew there could be so many shades of green.”
“And orange, and red, and…”
“All we got here now are shades of grey.”
“And off you go again with your negative thinking.”
“Your ma ever take you to the ocean?”
“She said she did, but I can’t recall.”
“That’s a real shame.”
“What was it like?”
“It was… like… well, the closest thing to heaven I ever saw.”
“Heaven?”
“What? Your ma never talk ‘bout heaven?”
“Nope.”
“Funny.”
“What is?”
“The way that people are. All they used to do was fuss about what was up above, what was down below, never looking at what was all around. And now…”
“I don’t understand. Is Heaven some planet or star or what?”
“Neh, nothing like that. More of a story than anything else. One that lots of people used to think was real. I guess the farther up we climbed, the more we saw, the less we needed to believe in something higher, ‘cause higher just held more of the same.”
“You know, I don’t hear about any darkness in the way you talk about it.”
“Well, those were the good days.”
“And the bad?”
“It’s hard to think about the bad. Hurts too much. At least thinking ‘bout the good makes me smile.”
“Then why…”
“Why’d we leave?”
“Yeah.”
“Because sometimes, even when the good is great, the bad becomes all you can see. You got to weigh up the good and the bad side by side, and see which there’s more of. And when there’s so much bad that the good looks like nothing more than a grain of sand beside it, you got to let that grain go and move forward.”
“Or up.”
“So, we moved up. We left it all behind. The running, the trees, the oceans. All so we could leave the bad behind too.”
“Was it worth it?”
“What do you think?”
“Sometimes I think so. Sometimes I’ve got to wonder.”
“It’s wondering that brought up here, and it’s wondering that’ll keep us moving forward day by day by day. There’s nothing wrong with wondering, boy. I do it all the time.”

 

Prompt:
In the 1970’s, NASA predicted that there would be a permanent base on the moon as early as 2007. It would be self-sustaining, and host a permanent human colony – which all pre-supposed the existence of water on the moon.
Write at least 500 words set in this alternate future. You could tell the story of a character in this future, or transport someone from the present day into it, and observe the differences.

wondering-forward

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