Rose Growing from Concrete
By Sophie Choi
The vibration of my phone stirs me awake. I see an array of messages from foreign names; they are all the same—different variations of “Could you lend me some money?” or “I promise I’ll pay you back.” Sighing, I delete the messages, then click on one of the profiles. I see a picture of a man standing next to his levitating car and another of him showing off the latest teleporting phone. He’s no different than the others.
Everyday I look outside the window and observe how everyone is completely consumed by their materialistic desires, a constant need to spend, spend, spend. They are completely blind to their surroundings––what matters to them is not the people around them, but the brand new watch that they bought a few days ago. Whenever I meet new people, I cannot help but notice how self-obsessed they are, their speech revolving solely on themselves, as if I am only there to simply listen to what they have to say.
Fed up and exhausted, I leave my house, walking aimlessly up and down the street. Then I suddenly remember Alex–my good friend Alex, a scientist who is famous nationally. I remember the conversation I had last year with him, that time he told me of his plans to make time travel a reality. I had laughed at him then, but suddenly I realize I have great use for it. I want to see the future; I need to find even the smallest piece of hope to grasp onto.
Without thinking, I run to where his office is, a few blocks away from the main street, and knock on the door frantically. After a few seconds, Alex opens the door, concern and confusion apparent in his eyes. Panting, I try to organize my train of thought.
“Hi Alex, I was wondering if that time travel device you told me you were working on last year is still in progress,” I start.
Frowning, Alex replies, “I’ve already finished the final product and it’s yet to be tested out, why?”
I let out a visible exhale of relief and continue, “Could you let me use it? I have a really important reason—” but I am interrupted by the strict voice of the scientist.
“No, it’s too dangerous. I can’t even guarantee that you’ll be able to come back.”
“Please,” I plead, “I’m losing faith in our humanity. If I can look at the future, and if I observe that things only worsen, I don’t think I’d ever want to return back here. I have nothing to lose. Please let me take a look into life fifty years from now.”
Perhaps it was the intensity of my eyes or the strain of my voice, but Alex finally gives in and I stand in front of a strange handle.
“Turn this three times and you’ll be gone.”
I open my eyes to a busy city, but the air is eerily quiet. I find myself surrounded by huge buildings, and all of them look exactly the same. Although it seems to be a busy city, all of the people are incredibly indifferent to their surroundings, completely immersed in their newly bought devices and shopping bags. I spot a man who almost trips over a homeless person, but he is completely unfazed and continues to walk with his eyes fixed on the receipt he is holding.
Further down the street, a woman bumps into a child, who yelps as he falls down, but the woman keeps walking on in her stilettos, without sparing him a single glance. The child starts sobbing on the floor, but not a single person comes to help. Not a single person even spares a glance. My eyes are glued to the utterly horrifying scene, and I am unable to move. More agonizing seconds pass, until a small girl approaches the crying child. Her bright energy and facial expressions are so strikingly different from the grimness of society.
One child is enough to create huge change. A rose growing from concrete, I trust that it is her who has the full potential to become the voice of this world and flip it around completely.
Oh, I think, there’s the light I’ve been so desperately seeking. I lock eyes with her and flash a small smile. Now, it’s time for me to go back.