It has been 23 years since the space rock hit our home. My mother didn’t make it. But I remember in a distant dream how she looked like: green eyes with brown hair brushing her frail shoulders. She wore diamond earrings all the time; I remember how they glinted next to her rosy cheeks. And jasmine. She smelled of jasmine and ocean water. She called me Lee, short for Natalie. Pa hated that name but has not stopped calling me by it ever since we lost her. He was tall and built; a complete contrast to my mother. He also had brown hair, but it was very dark. The gray in his beard stood out significantly against it. His gray eyes hid beneath his furled brows and he often walked with a confident stride but with fists on his side. He seemed strong but I knew he was broken inside.
“Lee, eat your breakfast please.” I sat at the table staring out the window at the gray clouds.
“It’s going to rain today, Pa.” I pushed the eggs around with my fork.
“You don’t have to be afraid. They’re just rain clouds.”
Our kitchen was small and dirty. We couldn’t keep up with the cleaning since we run everywhere: down to the shop, to Ms. Allison’s 5 blocks over for dinner, and 8 miles to my school. We don’t have cars around here. They were banned years ago. There are buses but Pa doesn’t make enough to afford such luxury. Today I had to be at school and we needed a 40 minute start so I could get there on time. I don’t mind running, I can run for a long time without getting tired and Pa’s stamina is incomparable. Ms. Allison said that he could probably outrun the cancer. She’s talking about the global cancer that everyone eventually contracts at around the age of 95. Even though the energy of the space rock increased the length of human lives by 50%, it also emitted a cancerous toxin that slowly built in the bones outward. At least that’s what Mr. Archie taught in Biology class which was 1 of only 4 classes. There was also Maths, Reading and Economics. I’m particularly good in reading but my father wants me to focus more on Economics. “One day, maybe you can be the answer to all this misery.” He’d say on rainy nights.