When I was a little girl, my mother would tell me stories of the time before the dome, when she ran wild outside. She told me about how she had been always hungry and tired, because she couldn’t find food. And that there were lots of dangers, like fast moving spheres that could knock someone dead, and men that roamed around, looking for women to hurt.
She told me that one of those wandering men had done something terrible to her, and she became so sad that she decided to die. She walked until she found a river, and she threw herself into the freezing water. She passed out from the cold and the water, and when she woke up, she was inside the dome, and the pink singing gas was there, and it gave her food and comfortable blankets and then I came along and she said she was happy. My mother doesn’t remember much of her own parents. She just said that outside the dome she was hungry, and things were terrible.
I believed her, and I wanted to stay in the dome, but even if I didn’t I didn’t see any way to get out.
One day there was a special treat, real fruit right there in the dome. Mamma said we should eat it before it went rotten. After Mamma and I ate it all, we got dizzy and fell asleep, right on top of each other, both of us still holding those sweet fruits.
When I woke up, I was in a different dome and my Mamma wasn’t there. I was so scared that I hid under blankets for two days. I searched under every surface, in every bucket and blanket, but Mamma was gone, or rather, since I was in a different place, I was gone. Maybe Mamma was still in the old dome.
The singing gas that came was purple. When it came, food appeared, but I didn’t like to let it touch me like the pink gas used to. It smelled funny and I missed my Mamma. The purple gas was there every day at first, and then every few days, till eventually it would be a long time before it came around, and I would be really hungry.
I slept most of the time. I didn’t have much to do back then.
Then, one day, a woman showed up on the other side of my dome. Her hands had calluses on them, and her face was burnt red from the sun. She looked hard and scary and looking at her made me want to jump on her, or have her jump on me.
She called out to me, and I came. I didn’t know as many words as I do now. My Mamma taught me some, but I was taken from her early, you got to understand, so I didn’t know what I know now.
She called to me and she had a device that made a part of my dome just disappear, the wall just vanished. She told me to come past the dome wall, but I was scared.
I told her there were men out there, bad men who might hurt me and make me with a baby and with a baby and no food, what was I going to do?
That’s when she told me that I was a man, and I couldn’t be with child.
You are laughing now, but it was only me and my Mamma for so long. I knew we were different from each other, but I didn’t know how other people might be different from each other. My Mamma hated men so much for what they did to her, but she loved me. I couldn’t imagine that I was like anyone that would hurt my Mamma.
The hard woman explained it all to me, about the invasion and the people being taken away to live in domes and about how this was our planet and we were going to take it back. She told me how we needed to give up comfort if we were going to get what belongs to us. I believe that now, I really do, but back then, I went with her because she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She still is.