- Feedback for Episode 260: The Speed of Dreams
- Next week… The difficulty of watching a parent die.
By Genevieve Valentine
The first day of fifth year a boy came in with the new eyeshields, a glossy expanse of black with no iris or pupil, and looking at him was like looking into an eclipse.
All the other girls said it made them uncomfortable; they teased him to take them out, to put on some normal sunglasses like everyone else. They said they’d never forgive him for hiding eyes in such a handsome face.
“Fortuni, it’s a little much,” said someone.
That was how I learned his name.
We were all Level Two intelligence, but before the first week was over the news was out that some had managed to find the money for a sixth year. Janik Duranti, who spent the history lectures drawing stick figures screwing on his computer screen, was getting a sixth year. I’d be cleaning his office someday. Answering his phones. Updating the registration on his blue ID cuff.
Carol Clarke opened the top button on her shirt as soon as the shades went down; obvious, but it was worth it to be married to a guy who had a sixth year.
The first time Fortuni opened his mouth was two weeks after start-of-year in geohistory, when Mr. Xi was talking about the five oceans.
“After the emergency desalinization,” Mr. Xi said, “we held the first HydroSummit to determine the best use of resources.”
“I think it’s awful about the dolphins that died,” said Kay, whose water ration was unlimited because her father was a diplomat, and that was how I first noticed her.
Mr. Xi opened the rain cycle diagram on our screens; the blue advection loop from a hundred years ago had been overlaid by a three-point process from the Atmo water collectors to the thirsty ground, and the green web of the surface sweat system that preserved the little underground things that managed to survive.
My grandfather sent my mom a postcard from Niagara Cliffs when there was still a river at the bottom (RAIN! All my love, Dad), and as Mr. Xi talked about desalinization I traced the advection circle, thought about the sky filling with wet clouds, about water sliding over everything.
I looked up, and Fortuni was watching me, his lashes casting shadows over his flat black eyes.
“I’m going to engineer some rain,” he told me, and after a moment I laughed.
That was how I met him.