Author: David B Anderson
“And so you’re back from outer space.” She pulled him into her arms and hugged him tightly. Her former boyfriend smiled but didn’t say a word.
“I knew you would return. People said you were crazy. Flying in a new spacecraft on a discount ticket is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. Low-costs and space tourism don’t go together. Hopefully, they’ll always double-check the spaceship as they did on this first launch.”
She took his hand and kissed it. Then led him from the doorway into her apartment and slammed the door behind them. She clicked on the stereo and searched for his favorite song. The musical beat filled the room. They danced over to the sofa. She fell on the middle cushion.
He set his helmet on the coffee table and sat next to her.
“Now we can rest at home. No more training. Until the promo agency drags us out across the globe to talk shows and make orbital voyages seem fun and easy to sell tickets. Their agents will arrange every aspect of our junkets even assign the same three questions to the countless interviews.”
She waved her hands out in front of them imagining a platform. “You step onto the stage in your bright flight suit. The audience erupts into applause. You’re an astronaut! Your face beams as you describe the one thing you’ve waited years to do.”
He held her close and grinned from ear to ear.
“I can see you now. The show emcee cheers with the crowd and raised the question everyone wants to ask, ‘How did weightlessness feel?’”
He laughed at the obvious query.
She continued, “You’ll reply, ‘That was the best six minutes of my life including sex. One floats inside the little cabin. It’s so relaxing I forgot the training and drifted.’”
He squeezed her hand gently.
She said, “After the laughter dies down, the second inquiry comes: Were you scared when the rockets blasted?”
He grinned as he remembered the experience.
She answered for him. “The beginning was identical to earthly airline trips. After two hours, it became boring. Then the ship separated with a jerk, and the motors fired. Through the suit, they roared and squashed me into the back of my fancy seat with forces stronger than any elevator or car. Just as I got used to it, it was over and the view was marvelous. Shimmering blue.”
He stretched his legs and yawned.
“The host bends close with a serious expression for the last question. ‘Would you do it again?’”
He lowered his head in deep thought.
“I know your answer. You’ll grin broadly and confess, ‘You bet. In a minute given the money.’”
He nodded and stroked her face.
She gazed into his eyes. “I hope they compensate you well for all that talking! That’ll be the most you’ve ever spoken to a stranger since we met. Does spaceflight turn everyman into a friendly and uninhibited person?”
She caressed his cheek with her hand and smiled at the roughness of his five-o’clock shadow.
He snored lightly as he slept like a baby.
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