Author: R. Michael

Jenny sat looking at the wonders out her window. In her right hand, she slowly twirled a bit of her silky, auburn hair, and in the other hand, she held a pen. Though intending to jot something down, she mostly just chewed on the end.

In her mind’s eye, she saw wind-tossed trees, the cool surface of a lake, a city – no, a small town. “Yes,” she thought, “that’s what I want.” The house she saw was small, surrounded by a field of tall flowers. Sometimes deer would come along to graze and on rare occasions a mighty buck.

Jenny then pondered what it would look like if snow softly fell around the quaint little house. “Snow seems so pretty. I wonder if any of the places we’ll visit will have it.” Her pen scrawled across the tablet. As she envisioned the biting cold and the crystalline flakes falling slowly and silently to the ground, she longed, even more, to experience it just once.

“Every place we go is oppressively hot and ends up uninhabitable. I wish we didn’t have to live like nomads traipsing from one place to the next just trying to survive.” Jenny thought as she craned her head up, once more captivated by what lay beyond the glass. Though young, a part of her realized there were people who would have traded places with her. The beauty and new sights Jenny had seen in her life were more than what most of humanity got to experience.

Still, Jenny’s heart longed for simplicity and quiet, just her, her brother and their parents. “Such is the life of an explorer’s kid,” she mused. Jenny remembered the anger she felt toward her mom for taking the job, but as she grew and made friends in her new environment, the homesickness slowly faded. Yet there was a part of her that wanted to make her mother suffer and to a lesser degree her father for going along with it. While writing, Jenny thought of none of that. It was a fantasy world, ultimately. After taking a moment to gaze out the window, her pen resumed fluttering along the notepad.

The little house she conceptualized was no longer surrounded by woods, but on one side there was a lake. On the water’s surface, she envisioned a family of ducks, smiling a little as she pondered how cute they must be in real life.

“How can I write such a story? Sure, I’ve seen things most people haven’t, but I also haven’t gotten to experience normal everyday life either. There is so much I’ve missed.” Jenny put the pen down, scowling at the paper in front of her as she debated whether it was worthwhile to continue or not.

“Arriving at planetary system in forty-five minutes,” a female voice spoke over the intercom.

Jenny sighed. The twin stars their next home orbited steadily grew larger, bathing her face in cold distant light. Beyond the two stars was a nebula. It wasn’t the first Jenny had seen, and she doubted it would be the last. All thoughts melted away as she soaked in the nebula’s beauty. Out of the corner of her vision, a brilliant blue and orange gas giant caught her eye. Orbiting the massive planet was a set of rings.

“Here starts another adventure. Maybe someday I’ll get to chase my dream instead of living someone else’s,” Jenny whispered to herself as she tucked the notepad under her arm.