Mining Base 262 (aka New Belize) Ganymede
There was a polite knock at Lai’s door, about 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning. She looked up from her copy of Saturn Fashion Monthly. “Leave it at the door.”
There was another knock, more urgent now. She groaned and flopped out of bed.
“I really can’t catch a break…” she muttered, stumbling towards the door.
“What is it?” she asked, cracking the door open. “Oh, it’s you! I thought you were room service… or maybe the police.”
“Um, no. I’m not,” said Martin, giving one of his classic, confused expressions. “Actually I um… well my parents… they um…”
Lai sighed, rolled her eyes and swung open the hotel room door. “Come in, you’re rambling.”
They sat on Lai’s bed as an anxious Martin explained.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Lai interrupted. “So you ran away from home because you’re moving?”
“Well… no, no,” Martin stammered, looking around antsily. “You’re not getting it. It’s about why we’re going. My parents want me to uproot my entire life just because of their stupid religion. And this is Mars we’re talking about. It’s basically a war zone. And what about Uri? He’s just a little kid! And they want to take him to Mars!?“
“Calm down, Martin. Mars isn’t that bad.”
“Not that bad? Haven’t you heard the stories? The crime? The cannibals? The dirty bombs?”
“I’m sure a lot of it’s exaggerated. Anyway, you should go back home.”
Martin scowled. “What? Are you even listening to me? They can’t d—”
“I am listening to you.” Lai sighed again. “Look. You came to me for advice on running away, right?”
“No,” Martin lied hastily. Then he met Lai’s unwavering glare and reconsidered his answer. “Partially.”
“Then let me give you some, one runaway to another. Go home. Your parents might be Christian fanatics, but at least they care about you. They love you. And what about Uri and Kia? You were just going to leave them?”
“You think I don’t miss home? You think I don’t wish I could go back every day? I left people I loved because I had no choice! But you do.”
“But Lai, they’re going to make me move away! Away from you.”
There was a painfully awkward silence.
“It’s not like it’s forever,” said Lai. “You can come back.”
“But who knows how long it’ll be?” asked Martin. “I can’t just leave you here alone.”
“Hey, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right here when you come back. And I’ll still have Danny here.”
“Martin, go home! You’re parents are gonna be worried about you!”
Martin breathed and stood up from the bed. “Okay, okay. I’ll go.”
“Martin,” said Lai, “go easy on them. You have good parents; they mean well.”
Martin nodded grimly, swallowing his rage.
How dare they? How could they just mess up my life like this? Everything I know is here. And what if I never see Lai again? We just started to… ugh…
But, at the same time, he knew Lai was right.
His parents might have been crazy; they might not have cared about how he felt; but they weren’t bad parents. Nowhere near as bad as Lai’s.
Martin groaned as he shuffled down the street back home. “Stupid parents.”