Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 82
I try calling her cellphone again.
Damn. My useless phone displays one of three messages with every attempt.
This time it’s ‘NETWORK BUSY.’
I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s the day most of us are leaving earth. The authorities never fully explained how this was even remotely possible. I’ve heard theories. Most seem to involve some extraterrestrial help. Personally, I’m inclined to want to believe these the most. There’s no way our country (or any country on earth) could silently manufacture and conquer the logistics of propelling most of the planet’s people into space. In a single day!
I call Nicky again. This time it’s ‘NO SIGNAL‘ that I see flashed across my phone’s display.
The biggest single event that’s happened ever is the day I try to reconnect with her after not seeing her for years.
What will life be like in space? Are we headed to a planet? A space station?
No one knows.
They strongly encouraged us to get on the bus. A greater percentage of folks than I would have expected say no. I guess either they are paranoid, or I am gullible. But I’m happy to leave this planet. We ruined this place. Hopefully, necessity and whatever growing pains headed our way will make us better stewards of whatever home we find in space.
In the meantime, there is chaos aplenty everywhere you look.
The funny thing is, I saw her earlier that evening. She was working a coffee stand in the stadium, with gray cinderblock walls. I saw not a single coffee maker or espresso machine, only long-empty tables.
I should return to the coffee stand. Maybe Nicky is still there slinging their magic coffee.
I head that way now. It’s not a far walk. As I skirt by the bustling crowds of swarming people, I remember being in a space station earlier.
Something is going on with me. Maybe Nicky will help me work through the ramifications, but something is wrong with all of this; none of it feels right to me.
I first met her years ago. I saw her nametag, and my mind raced to point out that her name (Nicole) was an anagram for ‘El Coin.’ As in words, I said out loud to her face.
Suave banter like that, it’s hard to fathom how I could still be single, am I right?
But she was a friend from the very start.
There was an unfortunate attraction (on my part). Sadly, Nicky was much too young for me. But she continually surprises me with the glowing things she says about me and my endeavors. I’ve missed having a cheerleader, I guess.
Nicky overlooked my attraction. She held staunchly at friendship; she is all charm, overflowing with progressive ideals, well-considered opinions about housing, minimalism, and spirituality. She was a hippie, a free spirit from the 1960s born in the 1980s.
I do my best to keep my feelings to myself. Nicky should be with someone her age.
And she is. So there’s that too.
I round the corner; my heart drops. The coffee stand has closed down. Forever, one can only assume. The last estimate I heard 64% of the population has volunteered to evacuate from the planet. I expect people left behind will still buy and sell coffee beverages right until death falls from the skies and the whole thing concludes.
I look inside the empty gray cinder block room. There’s nothing left. Even the tables are gone now, as is Nicky; she is gone.
I do not know why I agreed so readily to this. Perhaps it was the culmination of a lot of things. Years of living with depression and suicidal ideation played a not insignificant role.
There are also rumors about why this is happening.
One felt plausible to me.
According to someone on Reddit, NASA had spotted a massive asteroid on track to collide with earth.
They had not explained why the aliens (an open secret at this point) have offered to help us escape the cataclysmic event.
A thought strikes me so hard I nearly fall to the asphalt floor.
Did Nicky accept the invitation to evacuate?
I do not know, but I hope she has. She is logical, not plugged into the fake news crowd. Assuredly she is in line to board a ship somewhere even now. It’s not like the odds are good of our paths crossing again, I guess. I can’t imagine where we are going, that we will enjoy the same boundless freedoms of travel and exploring and coming and going as we please, when we please, etc. Surely there will be new limitations placed upon us in space.
So why try to connect with her at all, today especially?
I don’t know the answer to that, maybe to wish her well in this next chapter. Or to say goodbye?
I ponder it for several seconds.
Then I realize this is so dream-like because I am dreaming.