Author : Hilary B. Bisenieks

The last time I saw the surface of the moon, it was pristine save for a few sets of footprints. I had been struck dumb at the majesty of the black—an eternity of stars from horizon to horizon—while the others filled my ears with the chatter of their radios.

We were the first on that little patch of dust and rock, far from the Sea of Tranquility which had been designated as protected, along with the handful of other pre-commercial landing sites, long before our voyage had even been viable. There was no flag there, just as there was no wind to make it flap. When we left, nobody took note of our names. We were just a load of rich passengers to everyone on Earth. We were only remembered by trivia buffs preparing to compete for billions of dollars on quiz shows.

There were people who cared: the scientists whose work had made our vacation possible, the pilots who hoped that ours would be the first of many such trips for them, the CEOs whose companies could turn a profit marketing increasingly down-market lunar trips. They cared about the advances, the experiences, the possibilities, but not the moon itself. While we leaped across the lunar surface, they planned to develop it.

When our time was up, we returned to our module to make the long trip back to Earth. I wept in the safety of my suit as we took off. While there was still gravity, my tears slid across my face before being reclaimed by my suit. My grief and my joy were purified and offered back to me as nothing more than water.


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