Read Chapter 3 “The Last Time I Saw You”
To stop the anxiety from building up Maggie closed her eyes, to slow down her breathing. Once she was calm enough, her thoughts rush back to that last night she was with Patrick.
The logical Maggie should have never come to negotiate with the Old World. She knew that seeing Patrick couldn’t possibly end well. Unfortunately, love, passion and desire aren’t ruled by logic.
The negotiation took place on the Isle of Wight, which was designated as a neutral zone at the start of the revolution. On the way to the Isle of Wight Maggie worked hard to convince herself that her decision to sit at the negotiation table had nothing to do with Patrick. But the closer to the negotiation the less convinced she was of her reasoning.
The two of them used to be inseparable. He was her best friend, her love, her lover, and her whole life whether she liked it or not. At least this is how she felt before Patrick decided to join the Corporate World and then the Corporate Government, which Maggie still can’t rationalise. Why did he choose the wrong side of the revolution, having the opportunity to build a new sustainable society with her? Time after time she tried to start all over again, but in none of the relationships she was in she felt such a deep connection she felt with Patrick.
Having not seen him for years, Maggie had no idea how much he has changed and whether trying to persuade him to join the New World would be a wise move. She wondered if Patrick was married and had a family? She feared the most that Patrick she knew all those years ago was gone. Ecotopians pride themselves on being very forgiving and always willing to give another chance to those who wanted to redeem themselves and join the right side of the revolution. But what if Patrick didn’t want to join the revolution? What if he was rotten to the core, just like the rest of the Corporate Government was?
One of Maggie’s deep beliefs was that power and money corrupt people and makes them do anything and everything to get ahead. She lost many dear friends to glitter and glitz. But she still hoped that Patrick didn’t become one of them.
For many years the Old World showed no interest in negotiating with the New World, so the offer to negotiate seven days’ peace treaty was met with considerable scepticism in the Ecotopia. The Ecotopian government knew that punishing the general population for the sins of their government will never build a strong and long-lasting relationship between the two worlds so they agreed to supply only the seeds and medications for the Down Below.
The Ecotopians were well informed of the Corporate Government move to the Above. They also knew that to build the Above, they spend 90% of all the non-renewable resources they had left. 90% of the precious life-preserving resources were wasted to accommodate the needs and demands of the 1%.
Regardless, of what the Old World was aiming and hoping for the Above turned out to be a bigger challenge than expected. Soon enough the need for basic supplies such as medications and seeds turned out to be greater than the Old World’s pride. The Old World’s population was already starving. The new limits on food distribution wouldn’t help the regime to strengthen its control over the Down Below. Maggie always had difficulties understanding why anyone who had a possibility to cross over to the New World, would consciously choose the Old World with its limitations and ever-increasing poverty.
The Ecotopians built their society on equality, respect, and shared responsibility; that belief helped them to create an innovative, pioneering society, with a collective responsibility towards one another as well as Mother Nature.
Still, anyone from the Old World would be accepted by the New World as long as they managed to follow and accept the New World’s rules and the Ecotopia’s ethos and beliefs. People who didn’t believe in what Ecotopia represented didn’t belong in the New World.
Since the Ecotopians were always aiming for reconciliation, not for a longer and bloodier conflict, the negotiation was a perfect opportunity to show the Old World’s population that the New World was caring for everyone equally and not putting profit ahead of people or the planet. Maggie feared that the seeds wouldn’t produce the quality of food people deserved to eat. The soil in the Old World was abused and neglected and even years before the division of the words, it was already hard for the farmers to grow good quality food.
During the negotiations, Patrick sat across the table from Maggie. They both tried hard to avoid eye contact just in case they gave away too much. The Old World didn’t take kindly to the New World and surely wouldn’t take kindly to women of the New World mixing with the high-ranking government officials of the Old World.
By the end of the negotiations, the Corporate Government agreed to exchange the “prisoners” as well as some of the family members of the Ecotopian citizens who didn’t manage to escape before the Corporate Government built the wall between them. During those seven days, the Ecotopians were going to keep the seeds and medications supply coming, while people from the Down Below were allowed to cross the bridge (the bridge connected the Old World with the New World) freely.
When the deal was agreed upon, Patrick suggested that Maggie stayed behind to finalise the dates with him. She agreed, while her team went back to Ecotopia to prepare the transport and temporary facilities for everyone who was going to cross over.
Once everyone left and it was safe enough to show feelings again, Patrick walked over to Maggie and touch her hair, then her lips. Maggie closed her eyes trying her best to control herself but the desire to kiss him was stronger than her.
After that kiss, Patrick suggested a hotel nearby. Even though Maggie was in a relationship, her yearning to be with him was out of her control.
As always after sex, they talked, had wine, ate real food (something even Patrick didn’t have access to very often) and had more sex. Just like it used to be before the revolution. Deep down Maggie hoped that Patrick would want to come with her and start all over again. Unfortunately, her hope was shattered when she saw his incoming message “Did you get the information we need?”
After reading that, Maggie’s heart stopped. ‘He just … to… all they had that night wasn’t real… He needed something… that was all…’ It was surreal and reminded her of all the previous times he used her. She got dressed as fast as she could and left determined to put that night and Patrick behind for good this time.
Maggie cried all the way back to Ecotopia. She needed to accept that Patrick wasn’t the same person she knew and loved for so long. It was inevitable that he changed to survive the austerity of the Corporate Government.
Upon her arrival to Ecotopia, she truly thought that the past wasn’t going to catch up with her in the future. Soon enough she found out that she was pregnant, which made her beyond happy; she never even thought that her kids could have been Patrick’s as well.
Only a few weeks ago she discovered that her daughter had a rare immune disease. The Ecotopian doctors needed to find a blood donor to help her daughter survive. However, after doing the DNA and blood tests on both: Maggie and who she thought was the father, it turned out that the DNA didn’t match. After hearing that, Maggie knew who the father was and what she needed to do.
Since she always believed in honesty, she told her kids and her ex-partner about that one night in the Isle of Wight. The next morning her children were gone. Not being able to hold them, comfort them, and be there for them made her weak, prone to mistakes, and willing to do anything to find them.
Upon hearing the door being unlocked again, she opens her eyes.