(First time here? How about we start with Chapter 1)
[Paul’s Log – Day 696]
I finished the educational building today. School, I suppose, is what it will be called. Nova and Stellar have some items to finalize on the mechanical side of things. Running some wires. Testing out some computer equipment. But the building is whole and useable.
Not that there’s a use for it yet.
We all already have our educations. That was taken care of before arriving to this planet, and it wasn’t in a traditional school setting. But that’s another story in itself. Perhaps I’ll talk about that tomorrow.
For the children born here, they will be educated the same way children were educated before this world. As far as I understand.
Currently, we only have one child. Primus. The first. The name seemed fitting. Latin, again.
On Earth of the Past, there were these little creatures called cockroaches. It was a running joke that they couldn’t be killed. No matter what happened, they just refused to die. It seems Latin is the cockroach of languages.
I wonder if there are still cockroaches on Earth of the Past. I doubt there are any schools left.
Primus though, the day he was born was like nothing our settlement had seen. In fact, we’ve declared it our first official holiday here on Providence.
It’s not a great name. We’re all fully aware of that.
But no one suggested a better one. Actually, no one suggested a name at all. We simply kept referring to it as “the birth-day”, and eventually, it became the ongoing title. I’m surprised Mary didn’t try to call it “Rainbow Day” because it “brought us hope”.
I should probably keep that thought to myself. We will most likely change the name as more children are born, and I wouldn’t want to give the Bridges any ideas.
For now the name works because none of us have a ‘birthday’ as was custom on Earth of the Past. We don’t actually know when we were born. Or how old we are, exactly.
We all appear to be roughly the same age, in our early to mid 20’s by human standards.
Since we lack this traditional event in our lives, we decided to make this one special for all. Everyone took the day off. Well, everyone but Stannis and Juliana. And Gemma too, I suppose. From what I understand about birthing a human being, it doesn’t sound particularly restful.
We stood outside, some pacing, others sitting. I was leaning against the agricultural laboratory, watching the rest of the group. The couples were all together, of course. Fingers intertwined, arms around shoulders, heads resting against one another.
All positions that were foreign to me.
I stopped on Sarah and Bram. They sat in the grass, foreheads pressed together, just staring at each other. They were that way for at least 30 minutes. Possibly longer. I didn’t think it looked comfortable, but I’m not sure that mattered to them.
Sarah and Bram were the first ones married. We hadn’t been out of the ship for a month when they made their announcement.
“We were made to be together,” Bram had said with Sarah at his side.
He turned to her, their hands clasped between them. “Our names were written on each other’s hearts. This past month has been, at times, terrifying. But you’ve given me courage. Each day has been filled with anxiety, confusion, and discovery. But you have been my stability. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I know you’ll be there with me to face it, and that’s enough for me.”
Sarah was crying and both appeared to be shaking. Bram turned back to us at that point.
“When I woke on the ship, she was the first face I saw. And every day, I want her face to be the first and last thing I see.”
Sarah joined in. “Our love burns for each like a fire. Consuming us. Providing us with warmth. And so, our second name shall be Flame. To represent our love.”
The people clapped and cheered. The Flames kissed. And I stood in the back, watching everyone. It all sounded slightly…what was that word from a few weeks back? Ostentatious.
‘A pretentious show made to attract attention and impress others’.
From what I understand, much of Earth of the Past’s late literature read like this. Then again, that was how Bram and Sarah talked with each other and about each other. They are the artists of our colony, and so, with them everything could not just be communicated, but it had to be a poetical moment.
I’m not sure if poetical is a word, and truthfully, I do not have anything against the Flames….except for that I find it difficult to take their second name seriously.
I like them though, and they’ve made some beautiful art over the past two years. Occasionally, they assist in adding some artistic design and style to the buildings as I’m working on them.
And they both have beautiful singing voices.
However, I find it hard to relate to them. So much of their actions and words come from a place that I simply cannot fully understand or connect with. Their hearts and minds so intertwined with the other.
But the day of Primus’ birth, I saw something different in their eyes. It was well known, as everything is here, that they had been trying to have a child from the day they were wed.
What better symbol for love is there than the gift of life? Bram said that. I could not come up with a phrase like that.
And yet, each month would go by, and nothing. They’ve been examined by Stanis and Juliana, and there have been no issues detected. Something is not happening as it should.
I’m sure they thought they’d be the first ones to have a child, just like they were the first ones to be married. Instead, they were about to witness the birth of Providence’s first child to its third married couple.
And just like that, Juliana came out and announced that Primus was born, that everything had gone well, and that baby and Gemma was resting.
“You can see the baby and congratulate the parents tomorrow,” she had said.
Everyone was standing. Most were cheering or laughing or crying.
Shirley managed to do all three at once, while Vern stood at a distance and rolled his eyes.
In that moment, while we were all gathered there together, Sarah looked over the crowd and our eyes connected for a moment. Though she was doing her best to keep a smile going, the truth was in her eyes.
I saw the longing she had. Her insecurity showed in her slumped frame. A tear streamed down the side of her face, and I thought she nodded towards me. I nodded back. And then she turned around, wrapped her arms around her husband’s waist, and leaned into him.
So much of this settlement is controlled. From everything we know, it was setup to succeed perfectly. And that seems to make the things outside of our control so much harder to deal with.
I can’t help but wonder why those things are the way they are.
From the day I realized it was just me on this planet, I’ve asked myself if I have done something wrong? Was I being punished for something I couldn’t remember?
In that moment, Sarah and most likely, Bram, understood me in a way no one here has before. That connection, though brief and caused by such different circumstances made me feel, for first time, that I wasn’t alone.
Happy birth-day, I thought. That was a common phrase on Earth of the Past.
I felt warm tears on my face, and I quickly wiped them away. I wasn’t sure if they were from sadness or joy. Maybe both?
The beauty within the pain….
Sounds almost ostentatious. Like something Bram and Sarah would say.