Have you seen the sun lately
Copyright 2012 by Toya Jordan
All Rights Reserved
On the day I was born nuclear war had began. I can only tell you what my parents told me about that day. My mother said she had just returned home from her visit to the doctor. When my Dad rushed into the living room and told her that she had to pack. He said that they had to go to the underground city and that America was heading into a nuclear war. My Dad had helped to build the city that is under New York. He told me that he never thought in his wildest dreams that he would live to see a nuclear war.
My mother said she stood in the large picture window of their apartment and held her stomach as she looked out over her beloved city of New York. Then she reached for her camera and started snapping pictures. She said tears were streaming down her face as she clicked away, thinking these would be the memories she would share with me. She was gripped with fear and worry from that moment on and as soon as they made it to their apartment in the underground city she went into labor.
It has been nearly 10 years since anyone has seen the sun. All who had survived the nuclear bomb had dug themselves deep into the earth to survive. Every year people would gather in the light room. It was called that because this room had the only window that was 1000’s of feet high in the place that we lived. There had not been anything but darkness seen through the window. The celebration for light had since stopped and only a few people gathered in the room every year with the hope that today would be the day that the sun would shine its light on her favorite park bench.
Arbrey stood up from the chair and laid down the pictures her mother had taken the day she was born. There was one picture she held in her memory, it was a picture of a park on a foggy day with silhouettes of trees outlining the walkway and a bench illuminated by a light shining down upon it.
Her mother had told her that the bench was illuminated by a lamp. She told her mother that it was the sun not a light shining on the bench. Even though she had never seen the sun and had only seen it on DVDs, pictures, and painted pictures, Arbrey believed that it was the sun shining on the bench. She held the picture up to her mother and said no lamp could cast such a beautiful light.
From that moment on, she had imagined she was seated on that bench basking in the sun light that beamed down upon her while all the citizens watched in amazement. She had begun feeling that one day it would happen and that the Sun would shine again. No matter how many years she had gone without the sun, she was sure it would shine again.
“Come on mother, we must not disappoint father he is waiting for us in the light room”. The light room resembled her favorite picture. Her father had done his best to make the light room look like the park on the picture. Many people had told him that his trees looked real and he had made the park bench identical to the one in the picture. He had even put up a lamp post to illuminate the bench.
Morgan moved off the chair and let her daughter lead her from their apartment. She followed her daughter up a familiar path that took them to the light room. She had tired of coming to the light room. She did not believe she would ever see the sun again. There was talk of sealing up the light room because it only made some of the people give up hope of ever seeing the sun again. Her husband thought that it would give people hope to have a window to the outside world. Instead, some of the people went mad knowing that they would be in complete darkness, because the gasoline that was keeping the generators operating was dwindling.
Everyone had to start cutting back on their use of their lights. There was a curfew for lights, everyone had to use their light during the time that the commander said they could. With the restrictions on usage of lights, many people were becoming angry and hopeless.
Mark had told her that if the sun did not come out they would never be able to live on the top of earth. Only the sun could make the earth livable. He said that they had maybe 2 years of gasoline left and the candle making department was also running out of the material to make candles.
She had been told that some people had attempted to live on top but it was near to impossible. The radiation had killed all the vegetation and any form of life. The scientists had been monitoring the soil and atmosphere every year and every year they would say the same thing. We cannot live above ground.
Morgan’s love for her husband Mark and their daughter, Arbrey was the only reason why she had not taken her life. She hated being cut off from the outside. She and her husband were people who loved being outdoors. They had done their fair share of hiking, biking, and climbing. They were planning a trip to the Mt Everest when she found out she was pregnant. It would have been their first real vacation in three years. Mark had been consumed with building the underground city.
Now they were its first occupants. She was grateful that they had survived the nuclear war but now new wars were brewing from fear of lack and want. She lived every day for her husband and daughter. They were keeping her alive.
She found out after they had moved underground that she could not have any more children. They all had been exposed to a small amount of radiation and she was grateful that it had not affected her daughter, Arbrey.
It was like taking a hike. When they reached the light room, they were met by her husband as they walked in. Mark picked up his daughter and grabbed his wife by the hand thinking about the special surprise he was going to show them today. He was excited about showing his wife and daughter what he had been working on for a number of years.
It had taken him longer than he had anticipated; getting the things he needed to build what he thought was his best project ever. He led them down to a part of the light room that was the darkest part of the room. He put his daughter down and said “close your eyes ladies,” as they closed their eyes he opened the doors to another room that no one knew was there.
“Open your eyes ladies,” Morgan and her daughter squealed with delight as they opened their eyes wide with excitement. It was like they had been transformed from utter darkness to an abundance of light. The room looked like a beach. Mark had even found a natural well while digging a place that would serve as the ocean. It served two purposes drinking water and swimming. His wife and daughter were the first to see his visions come to life with the exception of the commander and the work crew that helped him to build it.
“There is going to be a grand opening tomorrow, what do you guys think about the place?” he asked in a jubilant voice. “Mark it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is just incredible! I am so proud of you honey.” Morgan planted a big kiss on Mark’s lips and continued to marvel at her husband’s handy work. “What about you Arbrey what do you think about the room?” “ It’s the most beautiful place that I’ve ever seen in my life” she exclaimed, “but the light room will always be my favorite.”
She beckoned to her dad to bend down so she could give him a big hug, she held on to him for a while then said “I am so proud of you dad, you are the best dad ever.”Honey, where did you get the sand from and the paint and the shells? Look at the size of the ocean! It must have taken you guys a long time to tunnel out this much space, wow!” “It took years and determination to do this honey and the smiles on you and Arbrey’s face made it worth all the work that went into it.”
“The people really needed this Mark. Hopefully, it will lift up their spirits.” “I hope so too honey. Let’s go to the ocean. We had to dig deep so people could really enjoy swimming in the ocean.”
“There is only one thing missing Dad the sun. One day I will see the sun I am sure of it dad.” “I will never stop believing that I will see it, sitting on my favorite bench in my favorite room with the sun beaming on my head.” “If you believe the sun will shine it will happen sweetie. One day it will come true.”
“Let’s go! I am ready for a big meal and some celebrating. What’s for dinner Morgan?” “I hadn’t started dinner yet because your daughter insisted that I bring her to the light room.” Arbrey walked out of the room before her parents. She wanted sit on the park bench.
“Why do you keep encouraging our daughter to believe in something that may never happen again?” “She is a little girl Morgan so let her be one for as long as she can. She doesn’t have to know the truth. Let her be happy for as long as the lights come on okay.”
Morgan walked out of the beach room slightly annoyed with her husband. She was just a little edgy after hearing about how things were going with the lights and the food supply. It was going to get harder to survive underground, the people had adjusted to the conditions underground they had all the luxuries of being on top except Internet, cable and phones. There were even farms underground and live stock.
People had their DVD Players and movies and there was a theater and several restaurants that serviced the population and doctors and nurses. There were many things to keep you from being bored. However; everyone missed the outdoors and the sun and the moon. She would not tell Arbrey the truth about the conditions that would soon start to decline. Her husband was right about letting her stay a little girl as long as they could.”
She stood at the door and waited for her husband and child to join her. She placed her hand in her husband’s hand and grabbed Arbrey’s hand as they walked out of the light room.