Chapter 11:



On the train the next morning, they found themselves wedged in-between a family of at least twenty. The two were eating their cotton candy breakfast, Frankie doing her best to block out the loud excitement of the children as they ran around the small cart, when Katie suddenly brought something up to her.

“Frankie…” she asked. “Do you plan on having kids?”

“What? Whadda you care…”

“I wanted to know what you thought.”

“I think not having them would definitely be the smart choice.”

“Of course it would. But is that what you’d want?” She took a bite of her blue sugarcloud. “You could have kids, you know. Not like one or two extra tally marks on our population is really gonna make that much of a difference when everybody else is still having them, despite everything. And, I mean… hey. Moon’s colonized to heck and back already. What’s to say we won’t get to furnishing Mars someday?”

“I don’t like kids anyway.”

“Then that’s fine. But I just think… well… even if something you wanted could end the whole world… you should go for it anyway, for your own sake.”

“That’s dark.”

“I guess it is, huh?”

Frankie’s eyes drifted to one of the children who wasn’t running around with his siblings. He just sat in his seat, looking at the ground, not even bothering to gaze out the window instead where a million structures designed for the sole purpose of entertaining him lie. It wasn’t like he was crying or anything- he didn’t even look all that sad. And nobody there said a thing to him.

“Maybe it’s not that I don’t like kids, really.” Frankie told Katie. “It’s just something else that bothers me.”

When she turned to see if Katie would reply, she’d risen from her seat to play with the other children. She danced with a girl who had clearly planned for this day- a Berrytown shirt paired with bracelets showing the parks she’d been to before. A state flag printed on a headband, what she assumed was her hometown. She looked happy in much the same way Katie was- like she was pleased just to be here.

Frankie wondered what that was like.

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