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Ships Pt 1

Jan 2020

Some drink wine on bad days. I choose music. Shimmy my shoulders, wiggle my waist and feel problems fade away, for 3 minutes and 40 seconds at least.

That day I was drowning out the news as I often did. Music on full blast. Broom in hand. Bellowing out my mother’s favorite song, following the vacuum bot and sweeping the hall with my corn-husk broom. The vacuum bots always leave a trail of crushed rice behind them. All those microchips and they still can’t sweep properly.

Nobody wanna see you rising

And when they do, they don't even like it

They just wanna see you deep in crises

Drive yourself you don't need a license

“This song man! Some old school tunes.”

“Kweku!” I jumped as he approached.

He laughed. “Only you would sweep after the hoover.”

“It doesn’t get all the jollof bits. What are you doing here?”

“I told you I’d be round before lunchtime.” He said wrapping his arm around my shoulders and squeezing tight for just a moment. “Martie you love this nonsense music.”

“It’s got a good beat. What do you want?”

“The lyrics though.” His voice went high as he laughed. I loved that about him. His deep voice first attracted me but his high-pitched amusement finally won me over after months of him chasing me.

“I don’t think about lyrics. My friend, why are you dodging the question?”

“Friend yeah.” He laughed again. “But really? Deep in crisis? Why would people want to see you deep in crisis? That’s extreme, who hated that Fuse don that much?”

I listened to the music for a second.

We wanna walk over them haters

Now watch me do my Azonto, Azonto, Azonto

It wasn’t that deep. I shrugged and switched off the music then spun round to face him. “You are here because?”

“Martie it’s getting real now.” Just like that all hint of humour was gone from his face. “Which ship you going on?”

“Kweks you know the answer.”

“I don’t.” He took the broom from my hands and set it down. I’d forgotten I was holding it, wondered if it was just an excuse for him to touch me. He knew what his slightest touch did to me. He knew my skin was tingling now and I was struggling to focus.

He smiled for a minute, cleared his throat. “This is stupid. Nation ships are the dumbest idea since all those old white men got together and drew lines on a map.”

“The planet has a decade left at best. We have to choose and leave or-“

“Yes yes yes. I’ve heard the propaganda. Why don’t we just stay?” He asked, narrowing his eyebrows conspiratorially.

“No stupid separation based on where you were born or what kinda paper has your picture on it.”

“A passport is more than a piece of paper with a picture,” I said as he took my hand.

I hesitated then pulled away. “I hate this too you know.”

His eyes lit. “So you’ll come with me?”

“Nah. Your ship is dry. Come with me. We’ve got high life, Afro beats, the ship food processor makes better jollof than your mum.”

“Who will be on the British ship.” He said, rubbing his brow.

“She will?” I was genuinely shocked. Now it hit me. I finally got why he was being so serious. I had a choice. He didn’t. This wasn’t about the flavor of the food or the type of music in the lifts onboard.

“Martie have you been straight up airing my HoloApps?” He shook his head.

“That thing’s overwhelming. I don’t check it.” I felt pathetic.

“Final evacuation ships B. We’ve got a few more days to decide. If we’re lucky enough to get that long.”

I froze. Feeling as utterly powerless as when I first heard the news. I’d just graduated from the world’s top engineering academy and felt I could do anything… then I found out it was bye, bye world. Next thing I know, on went the tannoys and the government broadcast the warning across the sky screens.

Asteroid impact in 2 years. Chance of survival at current ozone strength under 0.5%.

Just like that Earth became a refugee planet. Two weeks later, just outside of the Milky Way a star system was offering them asylum on an old garbage disposal planet where the main waste products were dihydrogenated oxygen & nitrogen. Almost too good to be true. The not so good news was that the trip would take bare light years so I’d be about 97 when we arrived.

“You have a choice. I don’t,” he said, echoing what I’d just figured out.

“What?” If I acted dumb maybe it wouldn’t be real.

“We never sorted our Ghanaian citizenship. Visas weren’t too bad and mum thought we’d stay around in Britain so there was no point.”

“So, I guess that leaves it on me.”

“Guess so,” he said. He reached to take my hand.

I squeezed his then turned the music back up.

My choice wasn’t easy, but it was obvious.

Ships Pt 1: Work
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