All in all it was not a bad day. It had started badly, as most of my days do. The morning firestorms were nothing spectacular, I think they have become just more of the same. If a firestorm doesn’t take out a very rich person’s home with him or her still in it it won’t even make the news. I remember the uproar when the first storm swept through town; we had been hearing and seeing the light shows in the desert for weeks and were already bored with the coverage, but the first to hit town really caught our attention. All the local news guys were in full fire suits risking burning their eyelashes off so we could see their brave freshly painted faces, talking a mile a minute about the total annihilation of the human race. Now it’s become part of the weather report, “category three firestorms are expected in the a.m., dress your children appropriately”, that sort of thing. They rarely last past ten. I rarely go out before ten. This morning I risked a nine-forty-five run to the tunnel station, that in itself wasn’t so bad, I slipped and covered my self with ash just before I reached the entry bubble but everyone else on the train was covered with ash so it wasn’t that big of a deal. That deep underground everyone feels safer and they loosen up quite a bit, there is always a lot of conversation, a lot of different opinions on how to save our world. Nothing new, but it’s nice to hear people, real people not the caricature talking heads on the box. This girl, Sally, sat next to me for no reason – there were plenty of other seats. She was impressive ‘cause she smelled like flowers, not smoky at all, quite a feat now-a-days. She was talking non-stop to a girl across the aisle about some new spray on coating for the face, she had some on right now, “can you tell?” she asked the other girl. Maybe it was the spray that smelled like flowers. She continued her across the aisle dialogue for a good five minutes but she was so animated that she kept brushing up against my shoulder so way before she acknowledged my existence I’d fallen deeply in love. It’s not that big a deal. I do it all the time.
“So where you headed?” she asked, out of the blue. I was a bit stunned. I didn’t even realize she was talking to me at first. But she sat there staring at me with the brightest blue eyes I’d ever seen until my brain cleared.
“I’m just here for the fresh air,” I answered honestly not having time to make up a more appropriate answer.
“I know!’’ she shouted like it was the nicest thing in the world to find shelter on a train a hundred feed below the surface. “It always is so nice down here!” I had no response. It was just the underground, free transportation, that’s all.
She waited patiently for an answer so I came up with, “it’s nice,” and smiled. The smile was genuine, after all by this time I was deeply in love and planning our future together. She left the train at the next stop. She smiled and waved like we had known each other forever and like she was leaving for another country, she even blew a kiss as she stepped through the doorway. I swear; I could feel it on my cheek. I rode the train until it had completed a full circle. I got off and made the run back to my pod. Not a bad day. The news predicts mild storms in the morning.