A storm blasts the land. Wind howls outside, rain seething through the dim, grey sky. Across the road, bare tree branches crack and clatter against each other. A seal on the hab’s window must be poorly fitted or fading, as with each gust slamming against them, I feel a breeze pass through my living quarters.
A stim show streams on the entertainment terminal, and the hab lights provide artificial warmth. On the social feed, all agree that it is unpleasant out there. No one wants to go out, if they can avoid it. The world is shut down.
Part of me wants to stay inside all day, too, but another want to put on a thick jacket and head out into the storm – stretch the legs, venturing up the hill for snacks. It’s an unnecessary journey, but I’m restless.
Last night went well. Better than I could have hoped, for sure. We all met in a central bar, in a part of town I’ve never really had cause to visit, before. An ancient area, it is rarely visited at weekends – being part of that area given over to week-day workers. Here, a group of friends – some, strangers to each other – gathered in tribute to a happy couple, a couple known to all. It was a night of conversation, of meeting new faces, and of catching up with people not seen for too long. Wrapped in our little bubble of light, we spent an evening all enjoying good company.
I had worried that I would, myself, struggle to hide a sense of emptiness – an unfulfilled life surrounded by those who have found happiness. I was wrong, and I’m glad it was an unfounded concern. Instead, quite the opposite happened, as I found a part of me I had not sense for some time. A calm confidence and happiness in the company of others. I guess that my quest to repair myself is, though sometimes hard to see from the inside, making progress.
And there was something more. An unexpected presence. Someone who I can’t tear my attention away from, even when I try. A reconnection was formed, last night, a thrill and an agreement to stay in touch. Maybe fleeting, maybe just well-intentioned. Hopefully, more.