I love my history class, but as I looked around at my classmates, I realized that I was pretty much the only one paying attention.
Not that I totally blamed my classmates, as it was the last day of school before spring break, so most of them have ... other things on their minds.
So did I, but I tried and focus on our teacher anyway ...
“All right, let’s just do a quick review of what we’ll be covering when you come back before you all run away on me.” Our teacher said.
“One hundred years ago, there was a Great Disaster. No one to this day knows what caused it, but the effects were felt around the world. Continents shifted, cities fell into the ocean, it was remarkable that there were survivors at all, much less as so many. The survivors worked on restoring the world, and although much progress has been made, we still have work to do. The past one hundred years, and where we are now will be our focus when you come back from your holidays.”
Just then, the bell rang, and the teacher said, “Which starts now. Have a good break.”
We all filed out, and headed to our respective lockers. I was almost finished pulling the last of my stuff out when I heard Grace behind me say “You planning on leaving without a goodbye?”
“Never” I replied, turned around, and gave her a kiss.
“Are you going to come back to school as Carter, or Kathy?” she asked.
“Still working on that. Might wait till summer to do a full changeover.” I replied.
“Where you going to spend spring break?” She asked me.
“My parents have been wanting to take me to where they met and were married for a while, so they saved up enough, and we’re going to Gibraltar Falls.”
“Oh wow. Which side? My folks are going to be doing business in North Africa and we might get a chance to swing by the African side.”
“We’ll be on the European side, mostly in some little Spanish village that has been rebuilt to look almost exactly as it was before the Great Disaster. I’ve heard they’re talking about building a bridge across the falls, too bad its not built yet, or we could meet in the middle.”
“We’ll figure something out. It’s not like there aren't ferries going back and forth all the time.”
“Unless you find some handsome man in Africa.” I said.
“Or you find someone in Spain - man, woman, maybe a bit of both ...”
“I’d rather keep you, if it’s all the same to you.” I said, and we kissed again.
I packed up my stuff, and went home, and that night, after supper, I made sure I had everything for the trip. Not for the first time I envied the people before the Great Disaster who had instantaneous communication through the internet. It’s not that we’ve lost the technology, it’s that the rare earth metals used in making phones and computers are now ... well ... rarer, and so only the very richest people have such devices.
The next morning we go down to the train station and head towards Gibraltar. The train uses solar power and glides across the countryside quietly and quickly. As we travel, my mom and dad talk about the improvements that have been made since they first came down here on their way to a honeymoon by the Falls. They talk about the series of canals and locks that allows ships to cross from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean across the tip of what was once Spain, and the plans to build a suspension bridge across the Falls.
I guess to them, it represents the resilience and ingenuity of mankind.
Me, I was too busy missing Grace.
She was the first person besides my parents to learn I felt more like a girl than a boy, and we’ve only grown closer since.
I did have to admit that the Gibraltar Seaway was pretty impressive seen from the train.
But it was nothing compared to the Falls itself.
I’d seen pictures, of course, but they paled compared to the real thing.
Caused by the Great Disaster, it’s more than five miles long, and more than twenty-five miles high. There is nothing like it in the world, and people like my parents have been coming for at least the last thirty, fifty years, turning it into the number one honeymoon destination.
Maybe that does say something about our species, that we can turn what is essentially a wound in the very planet itself into a place for wonder and love.
And I found myself hoping that Grace and I will coming here on our honeymoon, and that by that time I will be as complete a woman as I can be.
It’s nice to have stuff to look forward to, you know?
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