Author : Ellen Couch

I chose this job. I guess I just wanted to stay close to home.

The big work was done before I was born. Grandad was in demolition- Nana said watching him work was dead exciting. But everything that was coming down came down a long time ago. There are pictures of Nana in front of what Mam called ‘sky scrapers’. The idea of being that high terrified me.

They jumped at the chance to leave. Mam and Dad weren’t that old. They wanted to try for another baby. Down here the rules about that are very strict. That’s why my job is so well paid. Nobody wants it.

I know there are others like me. I don’t see them, of course. We’re not supposed to leave our Remit. But sometimes, if I’m right out on the edge of the farm, there will be a figure in the distance, silhouetted against the endless fields. But whoever they are, they’ve as much work to do as me. And there’s the counsellor if I want to talk.

It’s not a bad life. One of the perks of the job is getting first crack at whatever we can get to grow. My first tomato was a revelation, after nothing but nourishment pills.

They’re talking about reintroducing livestock. Just to see how the animals get on. Maybe one day they’ll be able to repopulate, but not in my lifetime. Probably not for a few lifetimes.

Sometimes, the loneliness gets so bad all I can do is lie in bed, shaking.

But the wheat grew this year. Next week, I’m going to learn to bake bread.

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