I licked my lips, the sweet and artificial taste of frozen yogurt on my tongue. My best friend and I lounged on the plastic grass in the beautiful white plaza overseeing a calm man-made lake as the sun shone down at us. A beautiful end to our vacation together.
“Our world is becoming like the Lorax,” I said.
I ran my hand through the fake grass, feeling the small pellets beneath substituting as dirt. “The field at our high school is also made of fake grass. The world is becoming plastic.”
She merely scooped another bite of frozen yogurt into her mouth, not caring.
I followed suit and stayed silent, but it stung, that I must hold my tongue around my best friend.
After the break, she sent me some pictures of trees bursting with leaves as red as blood, some with the hint of decay around the edges.
I like the fall leaves, I texted back, while lying on my bed, backpack on the ground beside me. The trees in my plastic city were green, even in the last month of the year. There wasn't even rain to dim the sunlight and to cool the air, at least to give a semblance of colder weather. If the plants weren't plastic, they would have withered and died from the heat long ago.
I can’t tell if it’s winter or autumn, she replied.
Winter doesn't exist, I stated. A joke, partly.
Because even as shiny paper snowflakes and icicles adorned the storefront windows, the sun shined defiantly overhead as if we were still in the midst of summer. People walked around in shorts.
It was December, but it might as well not be, without the stereotypical trappings of winter.
Finally finding the motivation to leave the bed, I got my backpack off the floor and opened my computer to a writing competition I had intended to enter earlier, asking for entries regarding the danger plastic posed to the environment. As I penned my piece for the competition, I recalled our current science unit. This year, our science class was all about sustainability. Just that day, we had read articles in class describing the dangers of plastic in oceans. A coincidence to some, but perhaps, a warning also.
At dinnertime, I went downstairs, wooden floors cool beneath my feet. My dad sat in the living room, boxes of electronics strewn around him, as usual. I nudged the boxes with my feet.
I took the cover off of one of the boxes. Inside was a plastic bag, containing a sort of container. Inside the container was a simple sheet of folded paper. Instructions.
It was like opening a present only to find it empty, save a piece of paper with the words: LOL!
My dad glanced over. “Overpackaging.”
I rubbed the plastic bag between my fingers. “But plastic is nonbiodegradable."
I remembered the articles I read in class, the research I did for my story competition entry.
I looked at him in surprise. “It’s bad for the environment," I insisted.
He shrugged. “I don’t believe that.”
Something in me stuttered. "Oh."
The thermometer would not say it, but the air in the room grew colder. I wish I knew what to say. I wish I knew who to believe.
Later that night, I crawled into bed, the covers as thin as the ones used in summer. I lied there, sleep elusive and eyes staring at the ceiling in the dark.
“Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year,” the phrase goes. An optimistic phrase, where the end of the year is instantly followed by a new beginning.
Is the December for our planet a day closer? Some people believe that it is not. That the end won't come. We are promised that January will follow December, but maybe one day, it won't. The clock would stop, the timer would count down.
My eyes closed, and the Earth turned, towards the end of December.
Still a draft, definitely only the bare bones for no, any tips on how to fix it deeply appreciated.