This story was written in 2008 for a creative writing class at Washington University in St. Louis.
I was in the checkout line at the grocery store when the earth disappeared beneath us. The salmon colored tiling remained, of course, but the ground outside was gone and we all felt weightless. Our reactions differed; the woman behind me couldn’t stop screaming and the kid behind the register curled in the fetal position, hovering near the 12-items-or-less sign. I floated in stunned silence.
After the initial shock wore off, we began to adapt to our new circumstances. I remember my first experiments with momentum, figuring out just how hard I needed to push off an object to safely reach my destination. Several hours after the ground disappeared, we realized we could move around using dead power lines, the sole tethers between buildings.
Most of us have learned to enjoy the sensations of weightlessness and have continued on with life as best as possible. There is very little contact with anyone outside our town but occasionally someone will careen by with news. I don’t mind the new lifestyle all too much; it’s less frenetic and stressed than when gravity was present. The majority of us spend our time in the office buildings and apartment complexes we’ve moved into; too much time outside, staring into the void has driven more than a few people mad. With no ground in which to bury the dead, we just shove the bodies away and watch them drift until they are a speck in the distance.