• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 02
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A Crude Depiction of a Lost Moment in Time

As I put the finishing touches on my display, I heard Sophie approach me from behind. I could always tell when it was her, more than anyone else in the commune. She had a distinctive certainty to her step. I knew she wouldn’t like my latest project (she didn’t like any of my projects). I didn’t mind. On the contrary, it was refreshing in comparison to her peers; their knitted brows and voices dripping with false reverence. I know how they really feel about all of us older folk and our art projects.

If you’re going to disrespect me and my work, I would much rather you do it to my face. Like Sophie did.

“And what have we here?”

I turned to face the young woman. Her freckled face was lit up with amusement.

“It’s the sky,” I said.

“The sky?” she repeated, eyebrows arched, thoroughly unconvinced.

I observed her closely as her eyes scanned the piece: the blue card; the hanging clouds constructed from used dental floss and bleached cotton wool; and the vintage single-use plastic milk bottles standing proudly below, exuding the kind of confidence only immortals can. She wasn’t impressed.

“What’s with the plastic bottles though? I get the rest, but what are they supposed to be? People?”

“I don’t know,” I said, affecting the mysterious tone I knew she hated. “What do you think?”


A Crude Depiction of a Lost Moment in Time

To Sophie, art was frivolous. Why would you spend your precious waking hours creating something so impractical that would never get you a place on The Program?

So, her response was unsurprising. She clucked her tongue with the kind of scorn that said, “I don’t have time to waste on this nonsense.”

I pressed her further. “How does it make you feel?”

This time she snorted. Not one to squander her words, she often communicated through sounds when possible.

Sophie has never had time for finding meaning in art. She doesn’t have dreams, she has plans. Big plans that extend far beyond our broken earth and the artificially darkened sky that protects us from the sun and its deathly rays. She’s lucky she was born after the world broke. She’s never preoccupied with rose-tinted imaginings of just how good things used to be, and how good they could have been. It’s hard to idealise a time you never experienced, particularly when all records of it were washed away in the floods. She doesn’t spare a thought to dreaming up ways to repair the unfixable. She doesn’t need a cure for futile thoughts.

I really envy her.

“You won’t even try?” I asked.

“No time! I’m leaving!”


“I got in. To The Program.”


A Crude Depiction of a Lost Moment in Time



And without any warning or emotional goodbyes, she was gone. Just like that. I haven’t seen her since. I’m sad she’s gone. I’m sad she’ll never see a real blue sky. But I hope she’ll be happy. I hope she’ll see something better.

And I pray that the stars are safe from humanity’s hampering hand.