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    Never Said Goodbye

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    NebulaJack
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    Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:54 pm

    Chapter 1.


    "They even took the soil with them, the fucking bastards."

    It was the same story my grampa had told last year and the year before that. Ever year, we'd get together for a family reunion on his yacht. As we'd sail around The Sea of China, Grampa Michael would tell the stories about how predecessor to The People's Republic of Mars had stumbled onto the greatest scientific discovery in human history, before fucking over the rest of the planet.

    He'd start with how they figured out how to surpass the speed of light. Then he'd go onto the way that they started a Martian colony, moving their people there in huge numbers five years later. He'd move onto how they'd then rigged up something even more complex that had transported all of the land in China to Mars so they could have fertile soil to terraform the planet. There's been rumors that they were exploring other star systems and wanted to figure out how to transplant earth environments to more distant planets, but nothing has ever been confirmed.

    Whether the teleportation of the entire Chinese landscape had been a test run for something bigger or a one time thing for transplanting to their new permanent home on Mars, the effects were the same. Catastrophic. The disruption of the pacific ocean rushing into the now empty space and the change in planetary mass caused disastrous weather calamities. Losing the most powerful economic force on the planet since the US economy collapsed in the '20s had devastated commerce in the past decade, so conditions across the the planet were already strained. This tipped things past a point of no return. Chaos and anarchy consumed the remainder of the '40s and continued into the '50s. It wasn't until 2062 that things started to get better. The Montreal Convention had brought about a burst of peace and stability to the world that lasted 7 years before the French invaded Palestine. That war had been short, but brutal. After that things resumed a state of calmness.

    I'd heard all of this crap before. I didn't care. I didn't care about the "days when a day was only 24 hours". I didn't care about the days when "pandas were still alive". I didn't care about the days when "every human born was conceived the old fashioned way!". I just flat out didn't give a flying fuck about what the world had been like before my dad had been born. I didn't care about his stories of life before I was born either, but at least dad didn't repeat the same ones every time. His crap had a variable thing where once or twice a month he'd offer up something I'd never heard. He also managed to avoid telling a story more than twice in a 12 month stretch more often than not.

    My busy summer had been interrupted by another pointless family trip that followed a formula. We'd be doing the same short of bullshit in October for Thanksgiving, and again two months later for Christmas. I just kept my head, down reading my book while Grampa Mike rattled on and on. He noticed my absence of attention and asked "What're you reading that's so interesting you can't engage with your family kiddo?"

    Holding up the book, I said "It's part of my summer reading list for AP English next year. It's a biography called 'Glass and Steel' that's about..."

    "I KNOW WHAT THAT TRASH IS ABOUT!" he snapped. Grama put a hand on his arm and he took a deep breath. "I can't believe they got you kids reading that trash. Just a bunch of tank baby propaganda and..."

    That was the point where I broke "Fuck off with that noise."

    That took the wind out of grampa's sails. Figuratively of course. There was still wind blowing, but grampa was silent with a shocked look on his face. So was everyone else. Mom and dad and his brothers and sisters and my siblings and cousins and grama were all staring at me. I went back to reading my book, which broke the spell. My mom raised her voice. "Charlene! That was out of line! You need to apologize right this..."

    "No. It wasn't and I won't."

    Dad snatched the book out of my hands. "Yes it was and yes you will."

    I stood up, glared at Grampa Mike. "You sir, are an archaic bigot who has had the misfortune to live long enough to see the world move beyond what you're able to accept and tolerate. I'm sorry that society hasn't stayed frozen so that you can feel more comfortable. I'm sorry that you have a grand daughter with the lack of gutless cowardice required to not call you out for using a horrible genetist slur. I'm sorry that you were born too soon to grow up with artificially birthed peers that could have shown you how fucked in the head your outdated prejudiced bullshit is, and I'm sorry I brought down the mood of your annual pissing and moaning about the end of 'the good ol days'. Maybe next year, mom and dad will let me stay with my friends instead of coming on this trip and you can have your precious little echo chamber." I snatched the book back from dad and sat back down.

    I heard grampa sharply inhale to say something. Grama beat him to it. "Charlene, that was a polite and well spoken apology. I'm very proud of you for speaking up. Daryl, go down below and grab the meat and veggies so I can lunch started. Michael, if you can't speak to my grand daughter with a civil tongue, then keep that tongue in your closed mouth."

    The rest of the trip went pretty smoothly. The following summer, I went on the trip again because Grama asked me to come. We'd talked a lot more on that trip than we had before, and we'd stayed in contact afterwards. The communication was mostly through written emails because Grama's old fashioned like. It was the first time in my life where I felt like I had a connection to someone in my family beyond shared DNA or living space. The cruise to the Chinese Sea that year was quieter. Grampa still told the story of the upheaval, but there was something different in the way he told it. Over the years I've tried to figure out what it was and the exact nature of it eludes me, mostly because of how the trip ended.

    During the last week of the trip, Grama June woke up next to Grampa Mike and realized something was wrong immediately. He wasn't breathing. She'd called out for dad and Uncle Benny. They tried reviving him but no luck. When we got ashore, the doctors told us that he'd died of a blood clot in the middle of the night.

    The funeral was two weeks later. It was a quiet event, with muted weeping, and downcast eyes. Grampa Mike had his body put into a mushroom suit and planted in the family garden. Uncle Benny read aloud from The Bible, but he started crying and Dad had to take over. When he finished, he cried too. They were the only ones who cried above a whisper. I didn't cry at all. Not then. It was still too unreal. Here we were, in Siri Linka CA, at a funeral for a man who I was supposed to hate in the loving way that only family can hate. There was alump in my throat that wouldn't budge. I wanted to cry so bad, but the tears wouldn't come.

    The day after, Grama June started passing out some of Grampa's things to us. She handed me a book without the dust jacket on. I looked at the spine and it was a copy of Glass and Steel. I looked at her puzzled. "Mike was reading that these last few months. I think he'd want you to have it. I opened the book and the pages were dog eared and had stuff written in the margins. Little notes like "I don't quite get why all the science details need to be peppered in so damned much. Sure, a little here'n'there, but this guy overloads me." or "This guy's dad sounds like a whiner." There was a big one written across the opening page of chapter 7 that read "I wish I could understand what this means to Charlene. I wish I could understand Charlene at all."

    If this were a movie, that's when the damn would have broken and I'd have started crying. It would have been big runny tears streaking my make up, and the whole family would have hugged me. Instead, the lump got bigger. 7 months later, I was at my boyfriends house for his annual "Old Timey Movie Slag Fest" where he'd find goofy old crap from the '00s and '10 and '20s and we'd laugh at how wacky a world that era must've been. One of them was a flick called "The Bad Grampa" or something like that. It had a shmaltzy ending with the crazy, kinda pervy old man swooping back in to save his kid from the abusive father he'd been paid to deliver him to or something like that. Somehow, that broke me. Some stupid goddamn movie. I started bawlin' like a baby, and Amanda, gods love him, put his big dumb oxen arms around me and held me while I let it all out. When he'd started reaching for the remote to shut off the movie, I cleared my throat long enough to shout "DON'T TURN IT OFF OR PAUSE IT!" and he kept the movie playing.  Two hours later, I dried my eyes, told him what was up, and he kissed me on the cheek then put in "Star Wars" because it was one of those old timey movies Grampa Mike never shut up about.

    That was almost 10 years ago, and to this day... I still wish Grampa Mike had lived long enough to finish reading that book, and I still cry whenever I think about the conversations we never had.


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:58 am

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Tue May 23, 2017 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Patch
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by Patch on Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:29 am

    Nice
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:28 am

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Fri May 19, 2017 4:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:09 am

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Fri May 19, 2017 4:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:50 am

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Fri May 19, 2017 4:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:50 am

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Fri May 19, 2017 4:19 am; edited 4 times in total
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:22 am

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Fri May 19, 2017 4:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:19 pm

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Fri May 19, 2017 4:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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    NebulaJack
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:05 pm

    [Soon to be submitted for publication]


    Last edited by NebulaJack on Fri May 19, 2017 4:18 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

    Post by NebulaJack on Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:05 am

    [Soon to be submitted for publication].

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    Re: Never Said Goodbye

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