End of Summer

by Deanna Ballard |

Susan was sitting on a bench with her daughter and began to tell her of the time as a child. She told her of how when she was younger, that there came a time each year when the sun shone a little brighter and the air felt a little bit hotter.

“People used to call this time of the year ‘summer’,” Susan looked at her daughter and said, “it was a time when everyone would be heading toward the beaches to swim in the cold waters of the ocean.”

The little girl perked up on the bench, furrowed her eyebrows and asked, “I don’t understand. Why is my name Summer?”

“Well honey, just like summer, you give me such a warm and fuzzy feeling,” Susan smiled and poked her daughters belly with a finger.

“What does summer feel like, mommy?”

“Summer feels like…um…It’s that feeling you get when you sit in front of the heater, but the heat follows you when go outside to play,” Susan did her best to explain the feeling of warmth to someone who has felt only coldness all of her short life.

“Summer sounds great. What happened to it?” asked Summer.

“Well, when I was a young girl like you, people used to travel in these things called cars,” Susan described how these things called cars moved people around, and that the cars moved by burning something called ‘gasoline’.

“These cars had a pipe at the end so that the smoke could be let out when they burned gasoline,” said Susan.

“So they farted gas,” giggled Summer.

“You could say that,” Susan chuckled at her daughter’s childish remark and went on to explain, “The smoke from the cars are actually bad gases which rose up into the sky where it stayed for a very long time.” Susan wondered if those gases were still there in the sky.

“There was also places that made things, factories they were called,” Mom continued, “These factories had to burn all kinds of things to make stuff. They created a lot of smoke, too. And the smoke…”

“The smoke are bad gasses, and these bad gases also rose into the sky where they stayed for a very long time,” Summer interrupted with a smirk.

“Yes. Clever girl.”

Susan paused for a moment to look at the sun, then turned to her daughter and said,” And sometimes the smoke would blot out the sun.”

Summer looked at the sun and wondered how much smoke it would take to blot out such a big thing. The only time she had ever seen smoke was that one time when she over toasted her bread, and that wasn’t even enough smoke to blot out the lights in the kitchen. So, it must have taken a lot of smoke from a lot of over toasted bread to blot out that big ball of fire.

“Then came the earthquakes and volcanoes,” Susan’s words brought Summer’s mind back from wondering.

“Volcanoes?” Asked Summer with her eyebrows pressed together.

Summer knew only what the Teacherbot had taught her. The Teacherbot was currently teaching her about the history of the America’s and how a country called ‘China’ was the first to build a habitat on the moon for people to live in.

“Volcanoes are like one of those mountains, but with a hole in them,” Susan said and pointed to one of the mountains in front of them, “If shaking from the earthquakes are too big, then liquid fire will explode out of those volcanoes. And…”

“And the explosions created smoke,” interrupted Summer, “which is a bad gas that goes up into the sky and stays there for a very long time.”

“Yup. Right again, smart girl. And there was also ash. I remembered how day turned into night in an instant. And it stayed night for a very long time,” Susan said, “and the sky broke.”

“Why?” Asked Summer.

“Well. The cars, the factories, the earthquakes and the volcanoes created a lot of bad gases. These bad gases made many holes in the sky. And so, the Earth had no more sky to protect it against the very hot sun.”

“Protect? Like we have the glass above us?” Summer said.

“That’s right. We’re safe from the sun in this glass dome, but the Earth wasn’t. That’s why it became so hot.”

“But isn’t that good? To have a very long summer?” Summer asked, scratching her head.

“Summer is great, but too much of anything is bad.”

Susan remembered how the Earth was very hot for a very long time. And then all the ice melted. The melting ice in turn caused the oceans to rise and consume a great amount of the land around the world. Then came the wars for what little land was left.

“And then what happened?” Summer nudged at her mother.

“Then there was this one crazy country that sent a bomb into the sky,” said Susan, “and when other countries saw that bomb, they too sent their bombs.” Susan put her hand on her mouth and let out a sigh.

The sunlight glinted off the glass dome that was protecting Summer and her mother. Summer looked up at her mother and could see the sunlight reflecting in her eyes. With a light bump from her shoulder, Summer urges her mom, “Tell me more mommy.”

“The bombs caused a lot of smoke too, which also completely blotted out the sun. And the smoke masked the sun for a very long time,” Susan said, “That’s how the winter that never ended, started.”

Susan recalled how the bombs not only caused summer to end forever, but also how much destruction and death it brought. Her family was one of the very few who saw something was terribly wrong in the world and started to prepare for the worst case scenario. They were indeed well prepared and safe underground when the bombs dropped.

“Where were you when the bombs dropped?” Asked Summer.

“I was hiding with my family in the ground,” Susan answered. When Susan and her family finally emerged from their bomb-shelters, everything was destroyed and in order to breath they had to wear masks all of the time. Then came the soldiers. The soldiers who took Susan away from her family. They said that it was for the greater good of mankind.

“And why did you come here, mommy?”

The soldiers taught Susan how to fix things, how to build things, how to survive. Then the soldiers strapped her into a rocket and sent it off into space. And the rocket brought her, and a select few, here to the moon, where Summer was born. “Well, honey, I came here to hide from that very long, long winter on Earth,” Susan answered and squinted to look at the ball of blue in the distance.

Summer watches as her mother looked into the distance at nothing but stars and a great lot of darkness. She wonders why her mother always brings her here to the park, to sit and stare at that blue ball that is so far away to see. “Why are we hiding here on the moon?” asked Summer, trying to figure out why her mother loved looking at that big blue ball so much.

“We’re not hiding honey. We’re just waiting. Waiting for the Earth to heal itself.”

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