The sky was smashing and attractive. It was the hue of tomatoes, marmalade and freshly picked lemons. Cumulus clouds were slowly drifting by and the sun was just about to go hiding behind the endless mountains.
Of course, you only see that kind of stunning site on TV nowadays where rich companies just make winsome backdrops of impossible sights and post them to make humans think that they are living in an appealing world.
The cruel truth is, we are not. Living in a lively world. We are living in a pile of junk.
In every corner of the Earth is piled with garbage.
Grandpa always tells about when his grandpa was small, Earth used to look like what it looks like on TV now.
“There were these creatures called animals back then, and plants and trees and mountains and oceans,” he says. “My grandfather was a great man. He was a farmer and he had a great life with his cows.”
My twin brother and I cannot imagine that. The world today is hopeless to be in the shape of its past again. The past is the past. It’s gone. It will never be the same.
In my bed, I tossed and turned just to think of one question that’s bubbling up.
How can we make the world back to what it was?
However, there must be a way and we just don’t know it yet.
I tossed my spoon in my cereal bowl and whizzed to the front lobby part of our house.
Mom tossed me and Cade our black air helmet from a drawer in the lobby. It’s for breathing because the air outside is polluted very badly. The last gasp of clean air outside ran out before I was born and rich people use to buy air for a good fortune. Nowadays, we all have clean air inside our houses and heavy machines to eliminate the bad air.
“Be thafe! ” Dad called from the kitchen in his weird accent.
When we were all set, Cade and I go into a glass door that leads outside. It keeps the clean air on the inside. The glass door siren makes a beep, indicating that someone’s going outside. The outside layer of the glass door popped open and leads us to the mighty world outside.
Like always, the world was colourless. Houses sat across from ours looks identical. There were no trees, no grass, no anything. Just people walking on streets with air helmets, looking down at the ground as if there were money laying on the concrete.
We don’t talk on the way to school. We looped around a corner to Main Street, where our school was located. After going through the same glass doors, the busy hall in our school was presented. I took off my air helmet and left Cade and walked to my locker to put my stuff down.
As I stuffed my things into my locker, I see my friend Eliana standing beside my locker in the corner of my eyes. We blab and walk towards homeroom as the bell went.
I almost dozed off with Ms. Trevelyan’s soothing voice in history class. It’s the most boring class ever even though Ms. Trevelyan did her best to make it interesting.
Everybody is aware that the past is glory and it hurts to look back from what we have now. Ms. Trevelyan knows, too. She ’s not brainwashed by the blinding world.
She took a glance at our class and slammed the thick history book shut. Then, she rapped her metal desk with her hand.
“Everyone! I know this is boring so we are moving onto another topic!” she said, slapping her poor desk while everyone in the room snapped back into reality. “We will discuss how humans will change the situations we are in right now!”
Santos, the nerd of the class was the first to poke the silence. “I don’t think we can do anything really according to the damage we have done and research shows that—”
“I agree with Santos! This is why we all hate history class! It’s because we all want to go back to that time where there were things called trees and breathable air! We gotta be thankful for how long we have lasted without the Earth dying completely, but we will die soon!” all of my classmates seem to agree with me.
“No, you are wrong, children! We will survive!! Just believe in it!” Ms. Trevelyan corrected us.
Soon, we made history class into a debate. We split into two groups on each side of the classroom while Ms. Trevelyan was doing her best job to calm us down but it was as useless as letting a cow learn how to play the piano.
“We can’t change the environment!” I shouted, as the captain of my team.
“Yes, we can! Even Ms. Trevelyan said so!” said the Marjorie, the captain of the other team.
Perhaps only Santos noticed Ms. Trevelyan’s face. Her face turned as red as a ripe apple! She seems to have steam coming out of her ears.
“Guys! Calm down!” Santos bellowed. But no one heard him. We still kept sending crossed words across the imaginary ocean.
“Who cares about what she says! She’s an idiot!” I shrieked. Oh wait— maybe that was too loud.
The room suddenly halted to a stop. It was like I can even hear a needle falling to the ground. I can feel everyone’s eyes located on my face and Ms. Trevelyan’s eyes burning on my colour-drained cheeks. You know, saying one word that is offensive these days in school can make you stand in the corner of the classroom for the day or even be sending home a note about your behaviour!
I felt my face burn like fire roasting wood and can also felt my self-esteem drop into a dark abyss.
“Excuse me, Ms. Cohen?!” she scowled at me, eyes wider than a tarsier (I hope that’s the Grandpa had said). I looked around and found all eyes landing on me. I shivered, not knowing what to do.
“Eh— sorry, Ms. Trevelyan,” I said, shamefaced. She pointed her finger at the door, for me to stand in the hallway for the rest of the school day.
I squished through my classmates, pushing some that were in my way. A bunch of “ouch” and “good luck” were sent to me as I walked through. But I can’t hear them. All I can hear was a weird humming in my ear, and despite that, there was only blood pounding.
I step outside and felt a chill. I can feel tears pooling up in my eyes and at last, I release them and let hot, salty and fat teardrops drooled down my cheeks.
The humming in my ears begin to grow louder and it sounded like it was coming from the left of our classroom. I peek into the classroom to make sure Ms. Trevelyan wasn’t looking and made my way down the hall.
Did it come from the washroom? I thought.
I checked the stalls, and just like I thought previously, they were all empty.
“Kalina? Are you in here?” Eliana’s voice echoed from outside.
She hurried into the stall I was in.
“She is an idiot after all!” she informed me. We both cracked up.
The humming was even louder than in class now. It was unbearable.
“Do you hear something?” I quizzed Eliana. She shook her head and cupped her hands around her ears to try to capture the sound like an owl. “That’s weird. It’s not the speaker, no one in here is humming—!”
We were all exhausted and we sat in a stall to talk and to waste time. Eliana accidentally got her hands dirty and went out to the sink to wash.
I went out, too and also washed my hands for nothing.
I opened the tap.
Eliana can hear it, too! We exchanged a look of confusion. So this is what you were talking about! She mouthed. What shall we do?
I looked at her and felt very tizzy.
It’s really not easy being the person that everyone looks to.
I looked into the mirror and saw our hair blowing up behind us. A swirl of lime green danced around us and it got brighter and brighter, and also bigger and bigger.
“Hold on to me, Kalina!” I hear Eliana yell in the dazzling green. I held onto her sweaty hand and closed my eyes.
Maybe this is the day that’s going to be exciting. I thought. Finally.
The world seems to spin and the bathrooms start to shake. The green became bigger and brighter. How strange.
I became blind to my surroundings—
All was blurry and all green. Where can be so green to be this green? I’m probably grounded in Ms. Trevelyan’s office with Eliana. Why has Ms. Trevelyan’s office become green all of a sudden?
The air in the breeze was good, not too hot or cold. The air! I . . . I can breathe!
Without. . . my air helmet!
“Kalina?” a figure hovered above me. I jerked my eyes open and found a confuzzled Eliana above me. “Look! We are surrounded by trees! The things from your Grandpa’s stories!”
I looked around to find that she was right. They were things that are straight and tall, poking their heads into the sky, almost. There were green things on the tops like fur on them called leaves.
“WE ARE IN THE PAST, ELIANA!” I shook her the exact way that you are not supposed to.
I inhaled a lungful of pure clean air and felt it refresh my lungs. It never felt good like this.
We spend the time walking down the road made out of the rubble. We didn’t know where it leads to, but soon, it turned out to be a city.
The road became concrete and the city looked like ours but more interesting and stunning.
The houses were colourful and very different from one another. We obviously didn’t fit into the crowd and people stared at us weirdly like we were aliens (well, we sorta are).
“Where are we going?” I asked as we passed a few confused stares from babies.
“Dunno. Explore?” she asked back.
Yes, it was true that both of us were confused.
A thought came up.
What if we ask people for help on how to make everything like the past and take their advice and go home and, and— change everything?
It’s a wild thought, but after you think through it, it will sound okay.
I talk through my idea to Eliana.
She studied me for a long time.
She was thinking about my plan.
Just as I thought that she leaped up and said, “Yes, Kalina! You are a genius! Then we can answer Ms. Trevelyan’s question without going into the hallway! We will prove proudly to her that you fix the climate by going to the past and asking!”
After that, she hummed non stop.
We walked further down the sidewalk and the heart of the city begin to appear.
Buildings, cars, people were everywhere.
I glanced around, losing my self in the world around me.
“Ouch!” I heard Eliana suddenly yelped.
I spun around and surprisingly found a well-dressed man taking Eliana’s arm and simply dragging her away!
I wanted to rage but thought that might make everything worse.
“Hey Hey Hey! What are you doing with my friend there, sir?” I asked, marching back.
“He . . . was trying to kidnap me!” Eliana said, fainting quickly. The man’s fists aimed towards me, and before I knew it, it was pitch dark.
When I woke up, I saw a faint outline of an office. I jerked my eyes open, finding the man sitting across from Eliana and I.
He later introduced himself as Mr. Thomas Hill in his British accent. He told us that he knows that we are from the future.
“All I want is, you to tell me about the technology about the future,” he said.
“Can I talk to Eliana?” I asked. He nodded and pointed to a small door on our right.
Inside was a small room with a couch. Eliana looked at me, confused.
“We should go back,” I said. She thought for a moment, then agreed.
“We will actually change the history if we tell him now,” she shrugged. Nod.
“Mr. Hill, we have to go!” I said, opening the room door. His face tightened. He sat up, looking at us.
“Oh, no!” Eliana whispered. My first intention was running— so I did. And Eliana followed. We fired through the door and down the hall where the washroom sign indicated to.
We can hear Mr. Hill’s footsteps behind us.
Eliana slammed the women’s washroom door hard behind us and we both started to catch our breaths.
“The. . . tap!” I yelled randomly. I grabbed Eliana’s arm and lifted the tap. I looked into the mirror and saw my hair blowing up behind me. The swirl of lime green danced around us and it got brighter and brighter, and also bigger and bigger.
When I zoomed in my vision again, I was back in my school hallway again, where all the drama had started. I heard Ms. Trevelyan both inside the classroom and then rested my hand over my heart.
Now I know the answer to THE question!