A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree. One is not a part of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander. –Roman Payne
To me though “…Mankind has the mind so he can wander”. Growing up, my mother always told me if you can dream it, you can live it”. My dream was to travel to Mars. The imagination is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life. My imagination turned out to be a haven for me. I never had toys, a baby doll or any of the things children my age had while growing up. I engaged in a lot of fights, as such, I ended up in my room most of the time.
Every evening, I would look up to the bright orange star shining in the southeast sky, clutching desperately to my dream planet, the only place I could belong. My teacher in school taught me that Mars, my planet, is called the ‘Red Planet’ and it was named after the Roman god of war. I liked to fantasize being armoured completely in a Brass shinny armour and a sword, guarding the integrity of my planet.
I was made fun of at school because of my continuous chatter about Mars. They made mockery of my convictions and they made light of my dreams. I cried myself to sleep every night as a result.
One night after my ritual gazing at the sky, I felt myself being lifted from the ground lightly. At first I thought it was a dream, so I felt with my legs, and they were not touching the ground. I was scared and terrified. I closed my eyes, counted to ten and opened them again. Everything was dark, then I saw clouds and blue. A lot of blue. I was mesmerized by the beauty before me and the sweet feeling of freedom dancing around me.
I closed my eyes again, but this time giggling, thinking of my next destination, perhaps the Sun. The Sun always looked beautiful from Earth. I landed with a thud and I felt a sweep of desert sand across my face. I opened my eyes and beheld the most peaceful place I have ever seen. It was all brown, the Sky had a hint of red-like blood in it and there were rocks everywhere. I could not believe my eyes. I AM IN MARS.
I felt heavy, but light at the same time. I believe the term is euphoria. Joy burst from my heart like an overflowing river. I let out a cry of happiness. My joy knew zero bounds.
My teacher in school taught me that no one could breathe on Mars, but there I was, breathing. I guess she lied. I lay on the sand allowing it dig into my skin, feeling the sand with my hands and letting it whisper to me beautiful songs and amazing poems of its wonders.
I also learnt in school that there was no form of life on Mars, but there it was, standing before me, a circular form of green and blue. It looked like an oasis and I allowed myself to be drawn to it. I guess my teacher lied about that as well. Its beauty cannot be likened to anything on earth.
It was surrounded by the green of Palm trees and at the centre lay a little pond. At the side was a Palace embroiled in Gold and precious stones. Its colour shone brightly in competition with the Sun. I was almost blinded by its beauty. I went in, and its Curtains lay like fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven with colours of the Rainbow.
I danced all day to the music in the Palace. I was free. I was happy. I belong.
There was only one animal on this mystical planet. It was a Dog with a Lion’s mane and a Cheetah’s body. It laid on me softly and I could feel its love radiating from it to me. I had a new best friend as we played all day in my planet.
Still in my moment of euphoria and bliss, I heard a voice. I was not alone after-all. I looked up and I saw the face of my mother. The Sun, the Moon and the Stars surrounded her face radiating pure beauty. She said to me “hey beautiful”. I gazed up as her smile warmed my heart, glad she had come to play. She shook me and said “you’ll be late for school”.
I am 85 years old now, sitting on a Cain chair in the veranda of my family house. My grandchildren gathered at my feet listening to the tales of my trip to Mars. They look on with amusement and excitement in their eyes. In the eyes of one of them, it shone brightly, the same thing that took me to Mars, to my planet.
I saw the dream to wander. To wander with her mind. There I knew, that child will go to Mars.