He was watching a TV show about the planet Mars,
which wasn’t making him feel any better. There weren’t
many channels to choose from since she left
and took the cable with her,
so it was either this or infomercials.
On the show, they were talking about how Mars used to be a wet planet.
There are stones all over its surface that have rounded edges,
caressed for ages by water way back when.
There are rivulets and trenches dug by gentle streams. Lakes,
maybe even oceans used to exist on Mars, which all would have been
a great growing place for little bits of life of some kind. But then
not too long ago (as far as planets go, anyway),
it all started to disappear, and now there’s none left, except for some
frost underground, or locked up in ice at the poles.
It made him angry that something like that could happen,
and so suddenly. And even if someone felt like bringing some water from Earth
up there, to return some moisture to thirsty Mars, it wouldn’t do any good at all
because it would just freeze solid in a second and that would be that.
He sipped his drink he had in hand and tried to savor the feeling
of the liquid touching his lips, but it burned instead.
The TV flickered in the room, flashing blue on
the bare walls. It was showing pictures from one of the rovers on the surface,
panoramas of the desert world. He felt bad for those lonely rovers, crawling around so slowly
over a tiny corner of a dead planet, sifting through handfuls of rust, like they were thinking,
What happened here? What the hell happened?