Day 274 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 7

Word count: 800

Henry was at home. After the morning’s events, he desperately needed a shower. He then poured himself a drink and sat in the kitchen. Shadows of asteroids flew overhead, their immense power rattling the building. It was all normal to him. He was not paying attention to it at all.
His mind was on other things; his wife, his mother, his father. For Henry, the pain of his father’s disappearance was still raw. There was nothing that could ever be done to change it: there were no words, no actions: his father was gone. It took him years to accept this. When he was younger he used to write him letters, writing about his day and asking him how he was, whether the weather was nice where he was. As he got old, these letters started to ask questions he wished his dad was there to answer; how do I shave, how do I talk to girls, what do I do with my life? These letters were never sent, but lay in a box somewhere in his attic alongside the box that stored all his father’s belongings.
Though he usually put it towards the back of his mind like a fact that could not be argued, for instance how it rained on his sixteen birthday barbeque, he could not help but be reminded of it today. Ellen was making the same journey as his father had made. It might have turned out to have bene a glitch in the end, but it only served to accentuate the dangers of living where they did. They could not grow crops on Europa’s soil yet. Most of the supplies had to come bi-annually from Earth. These ships were a life force for the moon’s families. Whilst new scientists came off the shuttle ship, old ones yearned to go back on, knowing that their families were just a two month journey away. Earth products flooded into fridges and quickly in to stomachs. In all the years he had been here, which accrued to all but three and a half months of his life, he had never wanted to go home. Earth had nothing for him. There were no friends, only death. It had taken his mother, it had taken his father and now it was trying to take his wife.
Henry shot back the rest of his drink. It stung his throat and burned on the way down, but it made him feel steadier. His plan was to return to the lab and help Fiona and Tammy prepare for the conference in which they would reveal the existence of alien life. He couldn’t believe that was happening either. Aliens? Europa? They were the discoverers? He had to admit he didn’t feel a part of it, to be honest. But Fiona insisted that he be part of it as he had been in the same room at the time. Henry felt as if he were intruding on someone else’s victory – but Fiona was insistent: he must be a part of the team now.
Henry did work closely with Fiona and Tammy on many projects, but unfortunately not on this one. He couldn’t describe how he felt – happy for them, perhaps a little jealous, but more that he had somehow missed out on making the actual discovery through his own fault. His name was going to be in all the history books, Fiona insisted, but he did not feel that he deserved it in the least, even though it would be amazing.
His intercom lit up. It was a shiny box integrated into the kitchen wall. It light up when someone was attempting to call and rang when it sensed your retinas were not facing it.
“Answer,” Henry instructed the device to receive the call, “Hello?”

“It’s me, Fiona,” Fiona began, “Could you get back down here soon? The conference has been brought forward by half an hour and we are really struggling… we need your help.”
“Yeah, uh sure. What’s wrong?”
“I think we’re just so nervous, it’s a lot to write down and we’re going to look like idiots if we’re wrong…”
“Wrong? How can you be wrong? Unless someone snuck a bit of Earth fossil and stuck it in your mail?”
“Haha, well not even that, it doesn’t match anything that’s from Earth!”
“Even better then, so what are you worried about?”
“We’re women, we don’t need an excuse.”
“Haha, fair point. I’ll be along in a bit.”

Henry hung up the call and put his glass in the cleaning dispensary. Outside it was raining tiny pieces of heated atmosphere. It was beautiful when it did this. Ripples of heat shimmered vertically. It appeared as if it were falling
It’s beautiful here, he thought to himself, why would anyone want to go home?

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~ by S.G. Mark on July 7, 2012.

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