Mrs. Watts settled into her desk chair and breathed in the cold air, smiling. The house was one very large room, really; her desk sat against the wall next to the couches in the living room. The kitchen was in one corner, and the bedroom in another. It all felt so cozy to her, especially with a mug of coffee in one hand, her writing pen in the other and a spectacular view of Earth spinning slowly in the window.
“Perfect. Just perfect,” she murmured. She took a sip of her coffee, thankful they'd found a way to make houses with Earth's gravity.
Mr. Watts suddenly burst through the door carrying two bulky shopping bags. He unzipped his suit and hung his helmet on the hook by the door before stomping over to the kitchen and tossing the bags onto the counter.
“Got the meals,” he grumbled.
“Thank you,” said Mrs. Watts stiffly.
“Anything for you, dear.”
Mrs. Watts slammed her coffee down on the table, spilling it everywhere. Mr. Watts stalked over to the couches and sank into the large blue one by the bookshelf. He folded his arms moodily as Mrs. Watts snatched a paper towel off the kitchen counter to clean up the mess of coffee.
“That’s enough!” snapped Mrs. Watts. “I’m sick of that tone!”
“Well, I’m sick of a lot of things around here!”
“Not this again!” said Mrs. Watts exasperatedly, throwing her hands up. “You agreed to this.”
“I agreed to a new life, not this—this slow death.”
“Millions of people would die to be here.”
“And most of us would die to go back!”
They stared at each other and narrowed their eyes. This was their third argument this week. Mrs. Watts jabbed a finger at her husband.
“You wanted to do this.”
“Who wouldn’t?! Real estate on the moon? It’s all anyone would talk about. Never mind what it would actually be like!”
“And what is that? Because I find it incredible.”
“You like it. You. You can hide yourself away all day and write your heart out, while I do what, exactly? Twiddle my thumbs? Tend to the moon rocks outside?”
“You know full well that there are plenty of jobs up here. You’re just too busy complaining to apply.”
“Because I don’t belong here! Where are the trees? Where are the hiking trails? What am I supposed to do as a park ranger?”
“The whole damn moon is a national park! Of all people, you should be thrilled to live here!”
“I only agreed because you brought it up—"
“Oh, so this is my fault? You agree to do this, and the whole thing is my fault?”
“You were complaining about the city every day! We could have gone to the mountains, or the beaches, but you just had to go ahead and choose the moon!”
They were both on their feet, shouting. Mrs. Watts blinked away tears; she hated that anger made her cry.
“You know Sarah and Kit Wheaton, at the end of the block?” said Mr. Watts fiercely. “They’re going back at the end of the week. And the Fredericksons have had their space shuttle booked for a month.”
Mrs. Watts slid back into her chair and pressed her hand against her forehead. She took a deep breath.
“It’s just...it’s perfect here,” she said wearily. “It’s quiet enough that I can concentrate, and beautiful enough that I’m always inspired. It’s a writer’s dream.”
Mr. Watts sighed and fell into the blue couch again. “I know. I know, I really do. It’s just...a bit much.”
“What are we supposed to do? We just got here. Why can’t you give it some more time?”
“I’ve given it six months! Is that not enough?”
Their voices were beginning to rise again. Mrs. Watts opened her mouth to angrily retort and then quickly snapped it shut. She didn’t want to shout anymore.
“Fine. Say that we don’t move, yet. What would make this better for you?”
Mr. Watts looked at her and raised is eyebrow.
“Humor me,” she said, shrugging.
“Maybe...maybe being able to go for a normal hike again,” said Mr. Watts.
Mrs. Watts jumped up to the kitchen table where she’d put the stack of mail that morning. She rifled through the letters until she came across a small pamphlet, which she tossed to her husband.
“There. The new initiative by the Council: gravity suits that mimic Earth's gravity. So we don’t have to bounce around when we leave the house.”
Mr. Watts looked impressed as he examined the pamphlet.
“That’s quite a feat.”
“What else?” pressed Mrs. Watts.
“Um—I miss food. Real food, like the lemons and avocados that used to grow in our yard back on Earth....”
Their shopping bags were full of the freeze-dried meals that Moon Residents ate for every meal.
Mrs. Watts nodded toward the window in the kitchen, the one that faced the sun most of the day. Mr. Watts glanced over and widened his eyes. He hadn’t noticed when he’d first stomped in.
There, on the windowsill, was a clear container lined with small pots filled with dirt and skinny green tubes.
“Supply shuttles brought them in this morning. It’s not much—it’ll still be a while until the farms are fully functioning, they keep running into problems—but it’s a start. Green onions.”
Mr. Watts stared at the green onions in wonder.
“That’s...that's a surprise, I have to say.”
“They call it ‘miniature farming.’”
They sat in silence for a moment, not meeting each other’s eyes.
“It’ll get better,” said Mrs. Watts finally. “It’ll take time, but I promise. Little steps at a time.”
“Sometimes the little steps are the hardest to take,” said Mr. Watts quietly.
“I’m sorry,” said Mrs. Watts. “I should have thought this through more.”
“I’m sorry, too,” said Mr. Watts. “I should have been more open and honest.”
“So, what do we do now?” asked Mrs. Watts, rubbing her arms.
Mr. Watts picked up the blanket draping over the back of the couch and walked over to his wife. He gently laid the blanket around her shoulders, and she reached up to squeeze his hand in thanks.
“I guess...we keep talking."