Cloud and Moon Mosaic’s new home in the lake districts was built elevated from the ground, as all homes had to be, to prevent the toxins in the soil leaching upwards into the house. In celebration of the new safe-to-breathe air they included a huge deck. The fact that they couldn’t yet afford enough panels to wall their entire house may also have had something to do with this decision. Decade of isolation and the breakdown of central authority meant that there was no longer such a thing as a universal currency. Could and Moon couldn’t just have sold their house back in the west and bought one at the lake districts. They had to trade what they could and start again from scratch. Still, they had more than many couples starting out and they had the most important thing of all.
Moon and Cloud were in love. They had each other and were convinced they always would.
“Who ever thought we’d be pioneers.” Moon said to Cloud after they’d finished putting out house to rights.
“Oh, I always thought we would.” Cloud said. “We’re special, you an I!”
He held her close and their feet slowly moved together in a slow dance.
“Moon river…” Cloud began to sing their song as he caressed Moon’s face tenderly. “Wider than a mile… I’m crossing you in style someday You dream maker, you heart breaker Wherever you’re going I’m going your way.
“Two drifters off to see the world There’s such a lot of world to see We’re after the same rainbow’s end Waiting ‘round the bend My huckleberry friend, moon river and me…”
“And you just kept of following me.” Moon said.
“And always will. And now we’re on the hunt for a real rainbow.”
Their first task after getting settled was to find employment. Cloud reported to the local fire station, knowing that due to the arid weather and drought the world had experienced since Day Zero, fire fighters were always needed. He wasn’t wrong and they offered him a job on the spot. It was only an entry level position but he was sure he could easily work his way up the ladder. He go home in high spirits.
“I’m glad you’ve had some luck.” Moon said.
“No luck for you?” He asked.
“Well, not exactly no-one here has bio-spheres in their gardens.”
Bio-spheres were the answer to the toxins that were present in the soils and used to be present in the air. They looked like huge domes dotting the surface of the world but n actuality they went as far below ground as above. Everything inside them was filtered and regulated enabling people to grow plants or fish from the waters inside.
“How do they grow their food?” Cloud asked.
“In the communal bio-spheres.” She explained. “Everyone tends the garden and in return you may take what you require— nothing more.”
“And it works?”
“I’ve already put some hours in and have brought home some fruit. I thought what we don’t eat we could plant inside in some pots, they’ll allow me to take some soil from the bio-sphere and that way we’ll have a kitchen garden on hand.”
“An everything garden!” Cloud said and they both laughed. They couldn’t yet afford dividing walls on the interior of their house so the garden would be in the kitchen, and the dining room, and the bedroom… He don’t laugh for long though. Moon was a gardener and the communal-everybody-lends-a-hand bio-spheres wasn’t conductive to her finding paid work. “So, what will you do?” He asked.
“This town is full of stuff! Rocks and gems and all sorts of things. Snow and I have been hunting for them all day and already had some luck! Haven’t we Snow? You good boy!” Moon fed Snow a treat. “Now come and I’ll show you the nearest bio-sphere.”
Moon took Cloud to the nearest sphere and they spent a pleasant afternoon gardening.
The weeks past and soon Cloud and Moon fell into a routine. Cloud spent his days at the fire station where he moved up the ranks quickly.
Moon spent the days collecting with snow and tending the garden at the bio-sphere.
She started a little “everything” garden in their main room and planted some vegetables so they’d be on hand.They improved a few of their furnishings but most of what they earned went into savings.
“My dear.” Cloud said one day. “I’ve been thinking about my next project, with the house I mean. I thought I could build a nice railing around the deck, and wouldn’t it be nice to put a little outdoor table out there—”
“Or, how about a bigger bathroom?”
“I mean we could keep the tiny one as a laundry and get a dryer and build a nice one with a bath for you and I and—”
“Darling!” Moon said a little more forcefully.
“Oh, yes m’dear?”
“I can tell you what our next project will be.”
“Can’t you guess?”
“I…” Cloud shook his head. “Do tell me!”
“Why you silly, a nursery!”
“A nursery? What fo— Oh! Moon! Is it true?”
“Yes my beloved. We’re going to have a baby!”
In the months that followed Cloud worked as hard as ever. Moon did too, despite Cloud’s insistence that making a baby was work enough. She spent less time out collecting though and gardening began to get very hard on her back. In the weeks leading up to the birth she turned her attention to the house, making sure everything was clean and spare meals were cooked and in the fridge for when baby arrived.
Cloud put up some panels and they built their first interior rooms— their bedroom and the nursery. The nursery was pretty bare, a crib and a rocking chair was all it contained but their new baby would have more than enough love that it wouldn’t need much else for the first few months.
Their new baby. Cloud’s heart skipped at the thought. A mini Moon, or a mini Cloud, tottering away. This was it. No turning back now. They were well and truly adults.
Cloud, now that he was the assistant chief at the fire station, took a few days off work around the time the baby was due. And they waited.
“The local ladies told me the first are alway late.” Moon said one night as they went to bed. “I guess they were right. You go to work tomorrow, I’ll be fine!”
“But what if the baby comes? I can’t leave you here alone to give birth!”
“I’ll be fine, it’s only a few days late. I’ll ring you if I start to feel the teeniest bit of a contraction. I promise!”
“We’ll see in the morning.” Cloud said, and the both snuggled down to sleep. After the baby came he’d have to work some long hours. He had some heavy maintenance to do on the fire engine (apparently no one else could do it…) and he had his fingers crossed for another promotion. But he also feared for Moon home alone with a baby due. There was no hospital here so they were on their own.
There was no need to wait until the morning, because on the stroke of midnight Cloud jolted awake.
“Moon?” He murmured.
“I—I think the baby is coming” She said.
Cloud leapt out of bed.
Cloud coached Moon through the labour as much as he could and after hours of pain (Seriously! She gripped his hand that tight with every contraction!) Their daughter was born. Moon snuggled her close.
“What shall we call her?” She asked.
“The most beautiful baby in the world.” Cloud said. “She’s as pretty as a flower!”
“Daisy.” Moon said. A daisy was a flower that Moon sometimes found in their home back west, growing inbetween the plants in the protection of the Bio-sphere. Cloud hadn’t seen any in their new home and the memory of Moon picking them and decorating the house with their little blooms made him homesick. There weren’t many flowers left in the world.
“Daisy.” Cloud agreed. He was a daddy! There was a grin on his face he couldn’t wipe.
Once everything was finished and everyone was clean again Cloud Wrapped Daisy into a fresh blanket.
“You get some sleep, love. My moon river.” He said to Moon. “We made a beautiful baby.” He helped Moon into bed. “I’ll lay Daisy down.” He took Daisy to the adjoining room and held her close to his chest.
“You’re so beautiful!” He said as he snuggled Daisy close. I—I don’t have words to tell you how beautiful you are! He stroked her cheek and began rocking her arms as he hummed a tune. “The love I’ve been dreaming of now lies here against my chest.” He sang, trying to find the right words to express his heart.
“But all I can do is just watch you without words.
In this city of strangers I prayed that we’d be blessed
Waiting and hoping for the day that you’d be here!
And here you are and from our home far out west
You’ve brought with you the scent of daisies.”