Yemasi set the table for her Mother. She could tell her Mom was trying to hide her true feelings. Yemasi looked out the window at the red dust. They had been living on Mars all her life, which was sixteen years. "After dinner, Can Omari come over? He has a new communicator to show me." Yemasi's Mother frowned at her. "No, this is family time. You can see him 

tomorrow after." Her Mother didn't finish the sentence. "Dad knows how to care for himself," Yemasi assured her Mom. As if on cue, her Father came through the front door. He had taken his bio-suit and decontaminated it. "Sorry, I'm late. We had to go over the details." Yemasi watched as her parents kissed. Her Mom held on to her Dad longer than usual. "It's okay." Her Dad whispered into her Mom's ear. They sat down at the table. "Everything looks good." Her Dad said, smiling. Yemasi passed the eggplant and the pasta dish to her Dad. "I picked the eggplant and the tomatoes for the sauce fresh from the garden today," Mom told him. "That is why you are in charge of the growers here. You know you are the best at growing food." Mom smiled. They eat in silence. " Will they have fresh vegetables on the rocket?" Yemasi asked. "No, everything will be freeze-dried and powdered beverages." He answered. 

"That doesn't sound that good," Yemasi said. "Exactly, it's not that bad. The pasta and green tea taste almost like your Mom's." Dad laughed. Yemasi would miss her Dad despite telling him two months ago that she hated him because he grounded her for sneaking out with Omari. She wished she had not said that to him. "I wish we could come with you."

Yemasi said. "You know it's not possible. You were born on Mars. You would have no immunity against all the germs on Earth." Her Dad told her.

"It's only for one year. It will go by fast." Mom got up from the table and ran into the bedroom in tears. Her Father ran after her. "Malik, I don't want you to go. Earth is so savage. They still eat meat; they can't predict when earthquakes will happen, and the water is undrinkable." Malik held his Imani close to him. "I have to get my parents. Every year, the ocean rises. The California coastal area is almost all the way underwater. Thank God that my parents live in Fresno." Imani looked up at her husband, her ebony eyes focused on his handsome dark brown face. "What if you don't make it back? What will I do?" Imani whispered. "I went before and came back," Malik told his wife. She looked beautiful with short natural hair. Imani always wore long braids down her back, but he found her more attractive with short hair. He could see her eyes and brown-skinned face. "Malik, that was before Yemasi was born. How is your body going to react on Earth?" The atmosphere is polluted." "We have unique suits that we will be wearing at all times, and our doctors have given us all of our vaccines," Malik told her. 

Yemasi heard her Mom crying. Her Mom cried when she thought Yemasi was listening to her music in her room. Yemasi pretended she didn't hear her. Her parents walked back to the table. "The food is cold," Yemasi said. "I will reheat it." Her Mother said. "No, I will do it." Dad got up and put the food in a heating bowl. It was ready in seconds. He served them. "Yemasi, you watch out for your Mom while I'm gone. Don't be a lazy girl." Her Dad told her. "Yes, father." Yemasi loved her Dad, but he was too strict. He was always on her about her appearance, grades, and Omar. She would have more freedom while he was gone. "I'm hard on you because you are not fulfilling your full potential. You are brilliant, and I see you wasting time with that boy." Yemasi rolled her eyes.

" I saw the bio-suit that you designed. It is not as bulky as the one's we use and safer. I told my staff to make a prototype. I expect it will be in full use when I get back." Yemasi mouth dropped. She didn't know her Dad paid attention to anything she did. "I know you can do so much more. I see you taking over for me if you stay focused." Yemasi looked at her Mom. She was smiling at her. "Thank you, Father." They finished dinner, and then they ate fresh strawberries. "How old is Granny and Papa?" Yemasi asked. "They are in eighty-three." Her Dad answered.

People in their eighties were considered young in 2050. People live to One hundred and twenty if they can afford to get brain implants to prevent Alzheimer's and other age-related diseases. Yemasi grandparents were considered well-off. They got the best medical care. Her grandpa was a retired Astronaut. He piloted missions to the International Space Station, and Granny was a scientist. "Why didn't they move to Mars when you and Mom did?" She asked. Her Mom stopped eating and gave Yemasi a stern look. "My Mom wanted to come, but my Dad thought staying on Earth and training pilots was more important than going to Mars. He always chose his career over family. Now, things are so wrong on Earth that they must leave." Her Dad told her bitterly.

Yemasi would start the pilot training program one year after graduating high school. "It sounds excellent to be a pilot. Flying out there among the stars. Imagine what you would see." Yemasi said that enthusiastically. Yemasi's Dad frowned at her. "Being a pilot is foolish. My Dad was testing out a new space Jet for the government and crashed and landed on the descent back to Earth. He broke, had a broken back, and was unconscious. He was in a coma for weeks. My Mother stopped eating and couldn't take care of me or my sister. I had to take care of both of us. I was twelve, and Candice was eight. When Dad came out of the coma, Mom started eating again. It was the worst time in my life." Her Dad told her. Yemasi didn't know why she decided to tell her Dad her plans. "I'm going to be a pilot. I have already been accepted into the training program". She could see the look of shock on her parent's face. "No daughter of mine will ever be a pilot." Her Dad screamed. "You can't stop me!" Yemasi screamed back.

"It's my life." "I just told you how my Father almost died. It's not safe!" Her Dad told her. "It's unsafe for you to go to Earth, but you are still going." Her Mother said as she stood up. Yemasi could see the fear in her Mom's eyes. "Imani, they are my parents," Malik told her. He went and hugged her. Yemasi got up and wrapped her arms around both of them. "I love you, Dad," Yemasi told him. "I will take care of Mom until you come back. I promise."

December 11, 2023 23:13

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Jeanine Rogers
01:30 Dec 22, 2023

The grandfather is loosely based on my Dad and the feelings that I felt when he was serving in the Army for 25 years. My Dad was gone a lot.


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Maria Sardi
22:17 Dec 21, 2023

I enjoyed reading this futuristic tale about a family living on Mars and their conflicts. It does feel like a chapter of a larger story.


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14:44 Dec 16, 2023

This reads like a full episode of a TV drama. A good Drama I'd definitely watch! Great stuff and a lot of history to this family. It's definitely the end of an era in many ways


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