Remember when 1995 was shiny and new
everything unknown: five years before the millennium—
the magic year approaching fast, the one we’d all written
about in grade school: we’d ride hovercrafts to the mall and
we’d return the planet to full eco-balance complete
with restored forests and sleek modern buildings powered by
scent-less human excrement; toilets flush recycled water;
trash compressed into water resistant bookless libraries:
landfills eradicated while convenience multiplied.
When the odometer flipped 1996, 19-
97, 1998, closer to the magic
two and three zeroes, some still thought we’d flip to perfection
but many of us upon seeing the lack of unwheeled
levitating transport believed indicators pointed
to annihilation. Softly, softly, 1999
laughed at our canned food stacks, our computer backups and stored
hard drives, printed emails, bracing for the symbolic click
of the millennium. Quietly, 1999
tossed the storeroom key over with a stifled laugh.
The Gregorian calendar had no year zero.
The next day, once the champagne wore off and computers pinged
on bright as ever, we understood the joke, and ordered
another shipment of freeze-dried food for the next crisis.
Listen to Wendy reading ‘Millennium’ (1:40)
Wendy BooydeGraaff holds a Master of Education degree from Grand Valley State University and a graduate certificate in children’s literature from Penn State. She is the author of Salad Pie, a children’s picture book published by Ripple Grove Press (2016). Her short fiction has been published in Across the Margin (2020), Oxford Magazine (2020) and Jellyfish Review (2020), and is forthcoming in NOON (2021).
© text and audio 2020