Space Flora | Origins: The Space Orchid Harvest
“I know you can’t hear me because of the vacuum, but I like to pretend anyway...” Shai’s voice bounced around inside his helmet, like speaking into a fishbowl. His eyes scanned the orchid field before him, the plants entrusted to his care for longer than he’d bother counting. They weren’t native to the planet, but they didn’t seem to mind one bit.
He bent down, his old knees creaking like oilphobic door hinges. He spoke with the high pitched rasp of a comfortable man breathing in his sunset years.
“You and your cousins are all going on a trip today! A wedding, of all things. It’s going to be a beautiful one, so you’ll have to be on your best behavior! No funny business!”
He wagged his finger at the orchid patch before him, before he slapped his knee and let out a short laugh.
“Ah, You must be sick of seeing my behind by now anyways! We’re going to send you far away to where I grew up, where you’ll feel all sorts of new things.”
Shai caressed the stalk of the orchid before him with a loving father’s reassuring touch. He took in the beauty before him, swaying healthily with confidence. An embodiment of all the hard work over the years.
“Now, this is going to seem scary... Like a shock, really! But it’ll just be a moment, and then we’ll put you in this little box I have... Your own little passenger suite! I’ve put all the stuff you like in here, the soil you like... I know you can get cranky!”
Shai shot the plant an expectant look.
“Ready? Okay... One... Two... Three!”
He gently loosened the plant, taking great care not to harm it. The plant joined its siblings in a bouquet in Shai’s left hand, swaying with the same confidence as they did when planted.
“Sometimes, life will pluck ya and everything will seem scary and new, different from all you know... But once the shock wears off, you can find a lot of good in the change.”
He wiped his visor and adjusted his hat, thankful it hadn’t floated away like last time.
“You know... It was at a wedding I met your grandparents. They were so gorgeous, and Fara was smitten, I tell you!” He stressed each word with an excited joy.
“So after we said our vows, we made sure to put them - your grandfathers and grandmothers - somewhere safe and sound. Then we moved here, and then they had your parents, and then your parents had you!”
The bouquet had grown sizeable, and Shai took a moment to breathe. Sit and sift through the meaning of the memory palace he’d erected, reabsorb the feelings he felt when Fara agreed to marry an oaf like him.
“Fara would be very proud of you. She was plucked, too, but there wasn’t a new soil for her to dig into after... But the doctor told us how long she had, and we made the most of it. Now, you’re going to go see a whole new world and meet a whole new family!”
Shai looked at the stars above. Breathed, then mumbled to himself.
“But don’t worry. It’ll be long while till I’m plucked too, so I’ll be here taking care of your friends. Now, I’m sure you’re bored listening to an old coot like me! Let’s get you on your way.”