14 Seconds

(excerpt)

 

Isadora could touch the moon. And on the way back, she would.

 

She spent a lifetime training for this trip. Her parents started her on math during baby sign language. Algebra in elementary. Calculus in middle school. Advanced physics in high school. PhD in astrophysics. Pilot sessions during the summers. Physically fit all her life. Fluent in Russian. 

 

Her parents bragged to everyone they knew about their future astronaut, and how she would be the most dazzling object in the sky. Isadora blushed. She had wanted to be a veterinarian, but after convincing, the stars became an obsession. 

 

She and her crew were a hundred days in now, with a hundred days left. It was her turn for debris maintenance. She was strapped into her suit and airlocked. This would be her first time to float in space.

 

The moments her pre-planned life had been building toward were here. As the second set of airlock doors opened, she could feel the culmination of her existence swirling around her as the sun broke the horizon of the earth and showed the beauty of time and evolution. An arm of the Milky Way gleamed across the black backdrop. But it wasn’t black. It was empty. No, not empty at all. Full of dark matter, planets, stars, universes. And people on earth thought they were so important.

 

It was amazing. It felt... exhilarating. The blood running through her veins pulsed through her body and she could feel every inch of herself more than she ever knew was there. As she floated to the side of the ship, feeling nothing around her, she felt everything within. An electrical current woke every nerve. Enveloped by this massive void, the entirety of existence wrapped around her. Her heart beat rapidly, her blood pumped through her and if she could only touch for the briefest of moments, she would be one with the universe. 

 

There was a tug on her suit, and then a horrifying vibration of tearing cloth. 

 

 

........

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