Wk 13 – Space Camp

Higher Education by Bernard Heise

“Dreamers Learn to Steer by the Stars” by Michael Webb

I had found her on Facebook, one of those chance encounters you have in the 21st century- a friend of a friend had a name that rang a bell in my mind. A short note asking if she was the same Shari I remembered, and then a connection is made.

By chance, we were in the same city, briefly, and we agreed to meet for coffee. She was still gorgeous, warm and curvy with deep black hair, lovely eyes, and cute little glasses that made her look like a barrista or a sexy librarian. She sat there, her skirt revealing just the right amount of Stairmastered thigh, a high heel dangling from one toe.

She had tea, while I had coffee. We compared notes- industries, college, marriage, children- all the checkpoints from age 12 to the present. “I remember-”, I began, “the last night of camp, when we were all down by the lake. I was staring up at the stars, while we were singing all those songs, looking into all that eternal emptiness . You had your bathing suit on, with a sweatshirt over it, because it was getting cold. You sat next to me, near the back, and you reached over and took my hand, and I was so excited, so happy, because a girl had never held my hand before.”

She looked at me, her brown eyes warm behind her cat’s eye glasses, and said evenly, “No, I don’t remember that at all.”

Midnight Riders by Kim Hutchinson

One dinner party, two couples, three bottles of wine.

A moonbeam shone on the balcony. They felt a slight shifting under their chairs and heard a quiet scraping sound, then the apartment slid out from the building and lifted away.

They floated over the city, looking at the lights and the people below. Only a Labrador on a leash noticed.

The apartment sailed skyward over suburbs and across faraway open fields.

As they reached the heavens, the hostess opened the French doors to let the stars pass through the rooms. The light twinkled off the mirrors and glass tables.

On the balcony, the host discovered that he could captain their journey with sweeping gestures and gentle words.

“Port,” he said, leaning into the breeze with an orchestral flourish.

“Starboard.”

“Forward.”

The cat curled in a wicker chaise.

The host steered them to the glowing white surface of the moon. Landing on the shore of Lake Oka at the foot of the Havarti Hills, they cavorted and played for hours, sculpting, tasting, making moon angels.

When they grew tired and had eaten their fill, they crawled back over the balcony railing, laughing like children.

“Up,” said the host, and they drifted home on a tractor beam of light

Andromeda: The Chained Lady by Kait Mauro

I shouldn’t have been surprised by the smell of campfire smoke; it was a bonfire party, after all. But I don’t remember much of my childhood and when I stumble across something that draws me back to those days, it catches me off guard.

Tonight I am in two places at once.

I am on the camping trip with my dead father, the one we took when I was in sixth or seventh grade. The campground, Pine Grove it was called, was also a waterfowl reservation – but nobody told us. We were woken up at five forty-five every morning by those Canadian geese. I named the one with the metal ring around his neck and fed them the crusts from my pb&j sandwiches. We wrapped potatoes in aluminum foil and cooked them in the campfire once it burned down to just the red coals. We ate creamed corn from a can and instant mashed potatoes from a cardboard box.

I remember lying in our tent at night with top flap open; Chincoteague always had such clear skies. It was better to go in the summertime, before the late-August mosquitoes came. My father had studied astronomy in college, before he dropped out because his mother was ill or some girlfriend broke his heart. He didn’t like to talk about those days. But he remembered the stories behind Orion’s Belt, the three sisters, and Andromeda – the chained lady. He could point out Polaris with his eyes closed.

Space Colony by Susan Gibb

In the beginning, there were thirty-five of us. Twenty-five women and ten men. We were all young, healthy, selected for our child-bearing genes. We were told to go ahead and have fun.

Thirteen of the women got pregnant the first month. Ten of the babies aborted themselves, unable to cope with the difference in external environment. We kept trying, selecting men as if they were stud horses, by their fertility because they all were intelligent, all handsome and strong.

After eleven months, we’d each suffered several miscarriages. I alone carried a pregnancy to six months, the longest. I alone went through an actual birth but too early, or as we know now, too late. The baby was dead.

After two years they stopped sending replacements. They know what we know, that time is all scrambled up here. The wheelchairs they’ve sent us, and high blood pressure meds, but no doctor in his right mind will come.

It’s been nearly three years and I’m weary. There is only one other left with me now. His hair, like mine, is silver and long. We sleep curled into each other, taking advantage of the months that will pass in the night.

Alien by Guy Yasko

Edith sticks to the barn walls, watching the dancers and asking herself
if there is anything, anything at all, to like about this
place. Perhaps. She finds warm feelings for the library’s flaking yellow
paint and its shabby stuffed chairs where she reads between morning and
afternoon chores. She even likes the books, even if she finds them
suspicious. It isn’t their contents, but the other campers and staff who
make the books dubious — although, come to think of it, she hasn’t been
able to let herself be amused by Parkinson’s Law.

The barn itself is the site of near-nightly folk dancing, something she
finds affected and anachronistic: “We’re not folks. Why should we dance
like that?” All the same, she lingers at the dance because she would
rather avoid her cabin’s smell of mould, pines, and outhouse. She
decides the only way to balance the two repulsions is to decamp to the
dark field between the barn and the cabins.

Away from the fiddling and stomping she can hear her footsteps in the
grass. At the same time, she notices that as the sound recedes, the
music and voices become comforting. Sufficiently reassured, she turns
her back to the barn and its yellow light and looks into the river of
stars across the night sky’s middle. “There. That is my home.”

Back to Wk #12 – Allergic Reactions



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