Grey by S.M.

She was 3 when her parents divorced, but that’s okay, because that’s what everyone’s parents were doing then. She was 6 when she last saw an animal that wasn’t branded by a number, locked behind a wire cage, or dead on a plate in front of her; but, that’s okay, everyone said this was going to happen. She was 14 when her parents purchased their first bottle of clean air, and she was 14 when she last went outside without a facemask covering her nose and mouth. That was okay she thought, because social media made it seem cool; design your own mask they said, look it’s what all the cool people are wearing. She was 17 when California and Florida joined the ocean. She was 20 when she vowed never to have a child, because raising a child in a world of grey seemed so much worse to her than never being a mother.  

She had heard stories as she was growing up of what it was like to spend days outside during the summer, chasing rabbits, playing with friends, and having no rules- except, that when the street lights came on, it was time to go home. These stories seemed to have happened in a fairy tale world. The crime rate now was so high that going outside alone was unheard of, and the air was so bad that spending an entire day breathing outside air was sure to make you sick.

She knew that while her parents were growing up scientist warned about climate change and how if people didn’t change their ways the world was headed for destruction. She is 30 years old, and has never left the town she grew up in, traveling is only for the rich now. She had a brother who died from a strange illness when she was 25, she thinks it was something in the air, but the doctors told her she was wrong.

The world is grey. She wakes up every morning coughing and wheezing, and travels to her day job. She has little to her name but the house her parents left her when they passed. The news reporters stopped giving weather forecast because they were all the same, hot and dry. She always wanted to be able to fix the world, she wanted to see a flower bloom in the springtime, and the leaves change in the fall; but, everyone told her to get serious and quit wasting her time. She was too scared to try and fail, so she never did. When she was little she read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss a book that predicted the downfall of society through climate change, but no one thought it would come true. She wanted to be The Boy who planted the seed, but there was no Onceler and there was no seed.

She was like everyone else in her society, itching for change but being too scared to fail. So the world continued to be grey, and the air got worse, and life had no color; but what was she to do she was only one person.   

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