I slowly came awake; stretched, yawned and looked over to see that my servant had already placed my morning coffee on the table beside my bed. I sat up and, as usual, my eyes were drawn to the view outside the glass floor to ceiling windows of my bedroom. The sun was just rising and its early golden light accentuated the beauty of the tropical garden that stretched for nearly a kilometre down to the shimmering blue of the lake. During the night the garden staff had changed the flowering plants in the beds that surrounded the pagoda that overlooked the lake; they were brilliant red poppies this morning.
Many generations ago my ancestors had settled this planet that they had named “Paradise”. The name had been easy to choose as it was truly a paradise. The world wide climate was tropical with the added bonus that it never rained; just very heavy dew every night provided enough moisture. There were no dangerous animals or insects and the tropical vegetation provided ample food. There was no need for farming as the plants produced year round and were easy to harvest.
My ancestors had found that the planet was inhabited by a gentle race of people that not only warmly welcomed the new comers but worshiped them as gods. Over the generations since they had gladly fulfilled the roles of servants, gardeners, cooks, builders and workers in the factories that produced all the necessities of life. They had also proved to be very intelligent and innovative and were continually improving or inventing ways of making my people’s lives one of luxury and leisure. They asked for very little in return and were extremely happy and content with their lives.
My clothes were laid out in the dressing room; brand new as usual; this morning I was playing tennis with my fiancée and a selection of racquets was also displayed. Breakfast was served on the back deck overlooking the ocean and this morning I chose fruit juice, rejected the eggs Benedict, instead decided on a selection of fruits followed by wholemeal toast with marmalade and followed by Vienna coffee. My driver was waiting for me when I was ready to leave and swiftly conveyed me to the tennis club.
The rest of the day followed its usual pattern of leisure and entertainment and by six pm I was back in my house settling into the lounge room after a particularly delicious meal of steamed fish, vegetable pie and spicy tropical ice cream, (my favourite). I could not decide what to do next so I wandered into the servant’s area of the house. Here a family of four; father mother and two adult children, were working side by side. They were laughing and chatting as they worked; obviously very happy. I listened as they talked and made decisions about their plans for tomorrow and how they fitted their work into their family life. Slowly a sense of longing for something lost came over me.
I stretched, yawned again and came fully awake. My wife beside me said, “It’s your turn to get the coffee today and hurry up as you know I am playing squash with the girls today. There is some left over lasagne in the fridge that you can have for lunch.” Outside the rain lashed the window and feeling the chill of the autumn morning I pulled on my thick dressing gown and hobbled on my arthritic knees towards the kitchen. As I passed the front entrance I glimpsed the sign my wife had put on the outside wall; “Our Little Piece Of Paradise.”