Sets off Alone Together
The boy and the girl held hands.
The boy and the girl held hands as they walked away from the large box in the clearing.
Not many people saw them walk away because most of the people who had woken from their long sleeps were looking for food or were standing in amazement at the wonderful planet they had found themselves on. Those who watched the boy and girl leave to explore the planet watched them for a little while and then they too resumed looking for food and standing in amazement at the wonderful planet they had found themselves on.
The girl asked the boy if he had enough rest.
The boy said he had a short but strange rest.
The girl said how was it strange.
The boy said he felt like he had left part of himself behind after he woke up.
The girl asked the boy if he had dreamed.
The boy said not that he could remember.
The girl said she was glad the boy was with her and she was glad they would explore the planet together.
The boy asked the girl if she had slept while he had slept.
The girl laughed. The girl laughed and said no. She said no, she had slept enough before emerging from the large box.
The boy asked the girl what she had done while he had slept.
The girl said she had looked for her parents.
The boy said but he thought she had said—
The girl said yes, she knew what she had said. She said she also wanted to make sure before she left with the boy for such a long time that she would not be leaving her parents behind if indeed they had come along on the trip after all.
The boy said had they.
The girl said no.
The boy said he was sorry. He said he was sorry she had not found her parents.
The girl said it was okay. She said she had not expected to find them, and she said she was happy to be able to spend the next long time exploring the planet with the boy. Then she squeezed his hand.
The boy told the girl he liked holding hands with her.
The girl turned around and said they almost couldn’t see the large box anymore. She said they wouldn’t see any people for a long time.
The boy said that was fine with him.
The girl said how long did the boy think it would be before they returned to the large box.
The boy said it was possible they never would. Then he squeezed her hand.
The girl said she liked holding hands with the boy.
The boy turned around and said he could not see the large box anymore. The boy said he could not see the large box, and it was possible they would never see it again.
The girl said she was glad the boy picked her to be his companion.
The boy said they had seemed to pick each other.
The girl said that was always the best way.
The boy and the girl continued to walk away from the large box and toward the rest of the planet that waited to be explored.
The girl asked the boy if he had a plan for exploring the planet.
The boy said he had a loose plan. He said they would first walk all the way around the planet until they returned to the large box. He said then they would turn ninety-degrees and walk around the planet in that direction until they returned again to the large box. Then they would walk a quarter way around the planet and then circle the planet such that they would be the same distance from the large box the whole way.
The girl said many things could happen to disrupt that plan.
The boy said that was why it was a loose plan.
The girl said they could come to uncrossable oceans or deserts or native savages that might eat them.
The boy said more likely the natives would be interested in helping them and in learning more about them and where they came from.
The girl said but in fact it was likely they would not find any natives. She said she heard that their leaders had chosen that planet because it was uninhabited.
The boy said their leaders had said it was likely uninhabited.
The girl said she hadn’t known their leaders to have been wrong yet, even though they had not made the trip with them.
The boy said the planet was perfectly habitable, thanks to the spiders, and it was possible that any life form that had struggled to survive before the large box arrived, with its spiders and its rooms full of sleeping people, had learned to flourish in the new, perfectly habitable world long after their leaders last knew anything about the planet and its inhabitants and long before the people woke up in the large box.
The girl asked if it was really possible.
The boy said anything was possible. He said all that mattered was finding what truly was, and that would be their job perhaps for the rest of their lives.
The girl said they could still find oceans and deserts that would keep them from walking in a perfect circle back to the large box.
The boy said and mountains and swamps. He said that was why he had said it was possible they would never return to the large box.
The girl said she thought the boy had meant they might die when he had said that.
The boy said that was another possibility, but one they would work hard to avoid.
The girl said she would do all she could to protect the boy.
The boy said he would do all he could to protect the girl too.
They squeezed each others’ hands.
The boy and the girl walked in silence for a time.
Then the girl asked the boy if he had a guess about how long it would take them to circle the planet if they did not meet any oceans or swamps or any native savages that might eat them.
The boy said he had studied as much as he could about the planet while he waited for the people to wake up. He said the education system in the large box had a little information about the planet, and he had studied all he could, and he guessed that two people could walk around the planet in two years.
The girl said if they did not meet any oceans or deserts or mountains or swamps or native savages that might eat them.
The boy said from what he had studied, all of those obstacles were unlikely.
The girl asked the boy if he had any devices to record their adventures.
The boy said no. The boy said they would go on their adventure and then write about what they had seen when they returned to the large box.
The girl said the leaders had sent a survey device to help map the planet and record scientific information.
The boy said the device also could track their location for anyone to follow their progress too. The boy said besides, he had already put that device in automatic mode and sent it off on its mission. He said they would do well enough without it.
The girl said so they would be alone together for two years.
The boy said maybe longer.
The girl said and they might never return to the large box.
The boy said anything was possible.
The girl squeezed the boy’s hand, and he squeezed hers.
And then he kissed her.
To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.