Unless—But It Never Happened
Twisted from The Lorax
With the seed in hand, the young boy finally returned to his synthetic hometown of Thneedville.
His heart was racing at an unbelievably fast pace, his breathing got heavy, and multiple scenarios and questions clouded his mind and his vision. When did he even get to town, though? He hardly noticed that anymore. He should be relieved that he even got back alive and unscathed, considering the condition the valley he came from was in, but that didn’t matter now. His focus was completely centered on the very last seed that he now held in his hand.
Imagine! The last truffula seed … It could do just so much for this town and its people. A new, better way of life. Everyone would be happier and healthier, and everything would be less … artificial. Nature would spring up again, and so many new possibilities would arise.
He scanned his surroundings, eyeing all the fake trees and plants that completely covered the town. By the sidewalk, there parked the O’Hare Air Delivery Service, bringing in a tank of fresh air to a warm and welcoming household.
If I plant this seed … it will change everything … people don’t have to pay for air anymore …
Ted took in a deep breath, clutching the seed tight in his hand and started heading toward his home.
He passed by town square, where numerous “trees” lined the way, and people went on with their daily lives without a single care. As he passed on farther, he saw families and groups of friends, all laughing and talking and just idling by, enjoying their lives and what this town had to offer.
Blissful ignorance, that’s what. A thought occurred to his head, as he vividly recalled the grey, gloomy skies beyond town. The air was so terrible; it was smoky, toxic even, and it was very hard to breathe as it felt like your throat was burning with every breath you took.
Nothing in those fields would grow anymore except tall, dry, dirty grass. It never rained, and it never shined, and to think one old man still decided to live all the way out there. It was all his fault, he had said; he decided to accept what he had done.
That seemed to have stirred up a certain emotion inside the young boy. To think that all these people were living such blissful lives, hiding themselves behind a literal wall, that without it, they would be forced to live under such same conditions. But it is always easier to just sweep the dirt under the rug, isn’t it?
His grip on the seed grew tighter, and he decided to just keep moving on.
If I plant this seed … things will get better … everything will change for the better …
But they all chose this lifestyle, didn’t they?
Ted decided to observe his surroundings again. He was by the mall this time, passing by a bunch of stores putting up new models of their so-called trees and inflatable topiaries and flower beds and the like by their display window. And there were a number of happy customers walking in and out to buy them.
They would lose their jobs, their business, they would reject the idea of bringing REAL trees back.
But that would just be a minor setback, wouldn’t it? If he were to plant this seed …
“Mom!! Can we get that new shinier tree like what John has at his house? It’s so cool! It can play music, easy to clean up, easy to put away …”
Ted frowned at what he heard. He was sure real trees couldn’t ever do that. Could a plain old tree ever compete with what they already had? The townspeople’s concept of a tree had already been so corrupted for dozens of years. What would they think of such a simple tree?
If I plant … this seed …
The young boy arrived in his neighborhood now. He overheard another child asking a parent what it was like past the wall.
“Oh, it’s nothing, honey; it just serves as our town’s border, kind of like a fence!”
Ted started biting his lower lip.
“It’s nothing to worry about; we have everything we need here in town after all.”
Ted zoomed straight for his house, unable to take anymore of what he was hearing. When he arrived home, his mother was busy in the kitchen, and his grandmother was nowhere in sight, so he quickly made a break for his room,
shutting the door behind him.
He was leaning against his door, and he held out the seed on the palm of his hand.
He picked it up with his other hand and examined it further. It was a dark wooden brown in colour, and had a nicely distinct spiral pattern on it that looked as though it was just carved onto it. It was so small; to think it would sprout to become a tall, marvelous tree one day.
He had always thought about giving this to the girl of his dreams; that was his main reason for even seeking out this seed in the first place, but after everything … It seemed as though a much bigger picture came into view. It wasn’t just about Audrey anymore, it concerned the whole town now, too. And whether or not they would take lightly to such a new, and now foreign thing such as a real tree …
“Then, make them care!” he recalled the Once-ler telling him.
But how could he?
Everyone … they all looked so content with their way of living. Having real trees and real nature again … it would be such a huge thing to adjust to. And, as for what happened to the valley, they were all at fault too. Whether they’d admit it or not. The valley was stripped and desolated because of their constant wants, their never-satisfied hunger for those thneeds and progress. They were all a part of the reason why the trees no longer existed. But what did they do? They chose to ignore it. And even found another way to survive without them.
Ted became more aggravated as his thoughts continued. Mental images of the cheery town and the gloomy valley flashed in his mind all at once.
He stared at the seed again; by now he had mindlessly walked toward his desk, where there lay on top a blue tumbler with some water still left in it, and just below to the side of his table was the trash bin.
He felt uneasiness in his stomach.
“If I plant this seed …”
Would they be even worth it?
His hands were trembling slightly as his free hand slowly reached for the
“It could change things for the better …”
Would they even CARE?
He remembered the conversations he heard, the people he saw and heard laughing and going on with their lives, not even caring about what lay beyond the barrier.
Do they DESERVE a second chance?
Just as he was about to grab hold of the water bottle …
The young boy then felt a void, empty feeling filled his chest. And all the anxiety, fear, and nervousness he felt before had now disappeared, and his thoughts finally grew quiet.
His now steady hand moved away from the water bottle. His eyes darkened as he hovered his open palm, the one containing the seed, over the waste basket, flipping his hand over as his fingers loosely held onto the seed …
And then he let go.