Dear Diary? Suddenly, I’m a 15-year-old girl. Though, with the amount of Gilmore Girls reruns I’ve watched lately, you might not believe me if I denied it. So let me set the record straight. I am Anthony Williams. I am a man, in my own way, and this is my account of my time on Mars. I’m past three months on this little red ball, learning, living, and loving as part of an international team. Aside from some questionable food choices–kimchi burps with a helmet on is not a good time–things were going great. Mostly. Everyone was doing his or her thing, and I was starting to send back scans of my first completed paintings.
Hold up, right? Paintings? I was surprised as anyone else when I first heard about that, but it is what it is. Along with astronauts, astronomers, biologists, archaeologists, physicists, and every other type of -ist going, someone decided they had room on this mission for an art-ist as well. This is, after all, the human race’s first venture onto another planet. Digital photographs and recordings of all sorts are a given, but there’s something essentially human that they miss. Blame France’s involvement, I guess, but any thinking, reasoning person should agree that an artist’s perspective is as necessary and valuable as any scientist’s.
Yet, there are still doubters back on Earth. Just last week, Captain Johnson read out some of the headlines during dinner. They had the wine out, and I could see a cake in the corner, waiting. I thought maybe, for once, these guys would understand why I’m here. I told Johnson to her face, before I sent the scans, that this would be their comeuppance. She laughed. All the times she went out of her way to kick my easel over on her way to the buggy. Oxygen isn’t free! And she would never drive me to the places I wanted to paint. I had to wait till someone was going out there anyway–and then most of the time there was no room because of “equipment.” As if I can’t see them loading empty crates to fill up space. You’d think that as the so-called elite, the smartest of the smart, they’d know better, but none of them care about my work, or all the trouble Johnson gives me. Even Madison, the psychologist in charge of morale, flakes on me when I want to talk about it! All I want is some professional courtesy!
But I digress. Back to the dinner.
I have never been so humiliated in my life, Diary. And I know you, a book, are the only one in literally tens of million of kilometres who understands. How sad is that?
Okay, yes, sure, the word “nepotism” was part of many of the headlines. And yeah, fine, alright, my dad is in charge of mission personnel allocation. But so what? I graduated just like everyone else. My diploma is the same as the rest, no matter how long it took me to get.
They all laughed at me, Diary. They laughed and laughed, until Johnson had to stop reading and sit down to catch her breath. The real question is, how do they expect me to produce under these conditions? They’re lucky I got any work done in the first place. And I don’t know who told the press about all the green paint I brought, or how I’m running low on reds, but I will find out. You can bet on that. I’ll find out, and so will my dad.
And honestly, how is my fault? I can’t help it if I’m going through my Cubist phase?