Unable to sleep, I stared at the grey metal vents a few feet above as I lay in the top bunk mostly tucked under my sheets. Rolling over to the edge of my bed, I leaned over the edge and down to peer at the bunk below me. My father was sound asleep and snoring lightly.
I pulled myself back up to my bunk and flipped onto my side to look out the round window protruding out into the world. Outside, the storm gathered strength and the winds lashed against the sides of our unit. I stared out at the eerie scene of wind whipped sand leaving nothing beyond a few feet of the base to be seen out in the night.
What happened to you Francois?
I felt a shiver pass through me and I didn’t want to think about how he might have met his end out in the unforgiving outlands that surrounding the safe haven of our complex. Taking a deep breath, I rolled onto my back and stared at the metal grates above again. The silver material provided a reflection similar to a fun house mirror. Leaning upward, the image came more into focus and I could see my own round, brown eyes surrounded by thick lashes staring back as I blinked.
Maybe we all go crazy here eventually…
Above, the image stared down at me. Below the eyes, a round set of red lips puckered that had become fuller in the last year. I had noticed this change among others as I tried to navigate adolescence on my own. It was a relief in some ways that no one noticed me or cared that I was changing, but the indifference of the others still left an empty feeling inside. I stared upward wondering what the students from my old school looked like now. For a minute, I tried to picture Danny Toros, who sat in front of me in math. Even now, some butterflies welled up as I tried to imagine his features now that he was older.
Studying the lonely face above, I leaned forward to kiss the reflection. Stopping just short, I stared at the fish faced girl. My cheeks flooded red and burned.
Turning back on my side, I stared out the window again into the darkness.
“Maybe the Arrival…” I mouthed the words but no sound came out.
Maybe there’s a thirteen year old in transit right now, hurtling through the galaxy in the transport towards Mars…he might even be cute…
Feeling my body warm and my face flush, I flipped onto my back again.
Please send me someone else before I go crazy here...
The sound of the wind howling outside hummed throughout our unit as I stared at the wall until eventually I finally drifted back to sleep.