SUNLIGHT AND PLANTS
11: SUNLIGHT AND PLANTS
Kaya, Clieo, and Maggy stared at the arena in shock.
“Well, that ended quickly.”
The three ladies turned in the direction of the voice that had just spoken. The man was pale skinned and had long scraggly and unkempt dirty blond hair. The hair was so scanty, one could see through to his white scalp. The man had a long face and an equally shaggy beard that ran right down either side of his cheeks and protruded from his jawline. He had even taken the time to twist the beard.
As if noticing their judgmental stares, he quickly put on a black hat that was matted with dirt all over, and shrunk into his oversized jacket.
“Yeah… you do that.” Maggy said.
“Mmmmm.” Clieo muttered as she stared at Hope. “It’s not fair. He wanted to join so badly.”
“Sometimes… we don’t get what we want Clieo.” Kaya said.
“Then it means you didn’t want it badly enough.” Clieo responded.
The crowd was chanting Duran’s name, over and over again and it only served to infuriate her more. Clieo stood up.
“Clieo.” Maggy called out to her. “What are you doing?”
Clieo did not respond. Instead, she cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled.
“You can do it, Hope!!!! Get up Hope!!!!!!!”
Maggy and Kaya looked at her wide eyed.
“She’s crazy…” Kaya said.
“Totally lost it…” Maggy confirmed.
“I believe in you Hope!!!!!” Clieo desperately tried to yell over the crowd still chanting Duran.
Hope lay on the sands, unmoving and unresponsive. Clieo’s shoulders shuddered and she wiped her hand across her face. Hands gently rested on her shoulders on either side, slightly startling her. When she looked up, she realized Kaya and Maggy had gotten up as well and were both chanting for Hope.
“Go, Hope!!!!” Kaya yelled. “You better not ignore me or you’ll be in preeeeeeeetty serious trouble!!”
“Get up Hope!! Don’t let my sis down!” Maggy yelled as well.
Soon, a murmur went through the crowd as they realized that a very small, as to be an infinitesimal group of girls were pulling for the defeated. Everyone went silent and watched as the girls, unfazed and undeterred, continued to chant for Hope.
Who would chant my name? I lost.
“Please Hope! Do not give up on your dreams!”
“Hmmm. How intriguing. You have people who believe in you, Hope.”
That voice… Duran.
Hope slowly pressed up again with his arms. They wobbled and shook, but this time, they held steady. He pushed himself up to his knees, panting as he did.
“Yeah… She’s my friend. Friends… stick with each other.” Hope responded.
His right eye was swollen and each breath he took caused him pain, but he struggled to his feet regardless.
“She is indeed a very loyal one. But like you, she is delusional. Did I not tell you to try again next year? You’re not ready.”
“I’m… still… standing.”
“Hmph. That can be easily fixed.”
Hope turned in the direction of Clieo’s voice. When he spotted her, he smiled. It hurt like hell to smile, but smile he did and she returned in kind. He could see two other girls on either side of her. They were smiling at him too. Somehow, he felt connected to each of them. It was like they were siblings and suddenly, the rest of the crowd gathered, didn’t matter. Hope looked at Clieo once more and a conversation he’d had with an elderly woman he had met on an excursion trip to Sector 50 replayed in his mind.
“You like plants, don’t you?” The elderly woman had said. She had knelt near where he had squatted to watch a small potato sprout growing.
“Yes, I do ma’am. Very much so. I think it’s amazing to see how something new can emerge from a seed in the sand.”
“But the sand contains the necessary nutrients for that new life to grow, doesn’t it?”
“And the seed had to be buried first before it produced the gift inside, right?”
Hope had looked at the elderly woman, who had been smiling at him as though he were her child.
“I guess so… Something is buried, to give life.”
“Yes. But you are missing one more ingredient.”
“What am I missing ma’am?”
“Look above you.” The elderly woman had said as she indicated with a movement of her head.
Hope had looked up, to see the large lamps that shone down on the potato farm growing in Sector 50 of the space station, Spectral 7.
“Light.” Hope had said.
“Indeed. Light. The source of energy that life needs to thrive. We, humans, are like plants you know?”
“Huh? I’m like a plant?”
“More like a seed. One day you will bathe under the sun and she will give you, new life.”
It had been ten years and he never got to find out who that woman was. Her potato farm was simply named M’s garden. As he looked up at Clieo, he thought he could see her shining like a radiant light and his skin warmed at the sight of her. The throbbing in his head melted away, and the excruciating pain in his chest fizzled into nothingness.
Hope turned back to face Duran.
“Sorry to keep you waiting and to disobey your orders, sir. But I’d like to try again now.”