Author: Shannon O’Connor

We all thought it was funny that Aunty Dotty got excited for events that nobody else cared about, like the 250th anniversary of the Boston Marathon.

She had been in hibernation for years, nobody knew exactly how long. She would go to events, because she hadn’t seen a lot of the world, since she had been asleep.

People had the opportunity to go into hibernation to save resources. Their families would receive money, and they would go into a chamber for fifty or one hundred years. The argument was that people who were asleep did not need food, and other essential items.

Aunty Dotty went into hibernation because she wanted to help people. She thought if more people went through this process, the world would be a better place.

When she woke up, we all had a party for her, though she didn’t know us.

“Welcome back, Dotty!” my parents and cousins and I screamed.

She blinked her eyes.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“We’re your family,” we said.

“What do you have to eat?” she asked.

She looked around.

“Everything is so bright,” she said. “Did the world survive?”

“Yes,” it survived,” I said. “We’re still here, and we want to celebrate you!”

She had a difficult time adjusting at first. She didn’t understand the self-driving cars, or the fact that we have no money.

“Do you mean people don’t work?” she asked.

“Only executives work,” I told her over grilled tofu and asparagus one day. “The rest of us do what we want.”

“When I was young, everyone worked. It was part of life.”

“But how did you have time for fun things?” I asked.

“Fun? We had little time for such nonsense, child.”

She was almost two hundred years older than me.

“Is the Marathon still on the same day?” she asked. “The third Monday in April?”

“Yes, some people are still stupid enough to run twenty-six point two miles to prove that they can. Fewer and fewer people run anymore, because it’s pointless, but there are those who want to show they’re better than others. Not me. I don’t care about impressing people.”

“We should go to watch!”

I shrugged.

“And do they still have the fireworks on the Fourth of July?”

“They do, but most people don’t care because fireworks are loud and remind them of bombs. It’s disrespectful of those who’ve survived the wars to blow up fireworks.”

“There have always been wars! Why is everyone so weak now?”

“We’re not weak, we respect other’s suffering.”

“You people know nothing of it. I’m going to the Marathon next week. Are you coming?”

“I’ll go to make sure you’re okay.”

At the Marathon, we stood at the finish line, and watched the runners fall to the ground when they crossed.

“Isn’t this great?” Dotty said. “They’re humans at the peak of fitness!”

“I’m glad you think so,” I said, quietly rolling my eyes.

“It’s amazing that the world still goes on,” she said later over oat milk smoothies. “And it’s still beautiful.”

“The world is messed up,” I said. “But most of us don’t pay attention.”

“It was worth going into hibernation,” she said. “I have hope for the future.”

“I’m glad you do,” I said. “Most of us don’t.”

“I feel sorry for you,” she said. “I think everything is wonderful.”

“Not everything is wonderful,” I said. “It’s the same as always: some things are great, and some are terrible. That’s simply the way it is.”