I’m standing next to our vehicle. I’ve never felt this much pressure and pain. He wants out and he wants out now! I place one hand on the side of the car and wrap my other hand around my stomach as another wave of tension moves across my back and abdomen. Just wait another 10 minutes Aurelius. I whisper to my eager boy. 

No one had told me he was a boy. I just knew. I knew from the moment I first felt my body change. I knew from the moment I realized I was pregnant. The physician confirmed it, but I wouldn’t have needed him. The same was true for his name. I didn’t know why, but one day when I felt him move, I unconsciously whispered “You are going to do great things Aurelius”. I had surprised even myself. I rolled the name over in my mind a few times and decided to keep it.

My mom arrives with the doctor just as the contraction subsides. They help me into his home. They get me into a room as the time between contractions tightens. Through the pain and agony all I can see is his face. All I can think is why did he do this to me. He was handsome, but that’s not what had attracted me to him. 

I’ve heard of worlds that are full of soft green grass. Worlds that grow foods that are yellow, orange, red, and blue. Worlds full of color. Worlds that rely on blue waters for life. Their people live in houses too big for their number and drives cars that cost more than their houses. 

Here things are simpler. We rely on triteum. It is a dry, dense crop that serves many purposes. It can be eaten raw. It can be ground into a powder. It can be chopped and cooked. We rely on one liquid. Liqua. It is thick and its color is a deep sparkling purple. Liqua and triteum can be mixed together and some people find it a rich blend. The rarest of foods to be found is pirpusus. It is a rich, succulent fruit. It takes five years to grow. Those are our three sources of life. 

Our homes are humble. We build only what we need. We do not tear down more of the nature that surrounds us than what we will use. They are made from the wood of the hard unblooming trees and the mud beneath them. I am fortunate enough to have once found a pirpusus seed and now have a modest sized shop to sell from.

That is where I met him. He came into my shop. I had just opened that morning and was still going through my inventory. I didn’t give him much thought at first. I get plenty of unknown faces. He walked around my shop without interrupting my work. He was quiet and moved softly. It was surprising how smooth he moved for someone his size. It wasn’t until I realized he had been there for quite some time that I looked up from my logs.
“Can I help you?”


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