The Old Astronaut

spacesuit

© A Mixed Bag 2012

I finally made it. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Never thought I’d get the chance to visit. I always wanted to see all these exhibits. I spent my childhood, my whole life really, admiring astronauts and their accomplishments. I used to spend hours pretending I was wearing a spacesuit, just like the one I’m standing in front of now.

It doesn’t look as impressive in real life, but then, it’s just an empty suit. What makes spacesuits heroic are the men and women who’ve worn them, who were blasted into space, who walked on the Moon. I was in high school when Neil Armstrong wore this suit and declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

I wish I could have had my shot at even sub-orbital space. I can afford a tourist’s ride on SpaceX now, but I’m too old.

My grandson’s not, though. Next month he and five other astronauts will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station, and from there, they’ll board the Ares One spaceship to Mars. I’ve got my shot into space because my grandson will always be in my heart. Thank you, boy.

I’m writing this in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction – March 12th 2017 hosted by Al Forbes. The idea is for authors to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words. My story is exactly 200 words long.

Oh, I really did grow up with the NASA manned space missions, from Mercury, to Gemini, to Apollo, and beyond. I even got a chance to see and touch (I wasn’t supposed to touch it) one of the Apollo command modules once, although I’ve never been to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum (I wish). I’ll never go into space, but my grandchildren’s generation will. To the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

To read other tales based on the photo, go to InLinkz.com.

Finding Love Again

hotel

© A Mixed Bag 2014

The so-called Country Hotel was located in the center of town. Dreary, gray, depressing place, but it’s where Janice said to meet. He’d been in worse.

Dean checked in and took his luggage to his room on the fifth floor. Janice made the reservation, so she’d know where to find him.

He didn’t unpack, just took off his overcoat, laid it across the bed, and nervously looked at his wristwatch. Almost time. Would they remember him after five years?

He heard the knock. Children’s muffled voices.

He hesitated for a second, then opened it.

“Grandpa!” Eleven-year-old Aaron and nine-year-old Esther screamed simultaneously, launching into the room, embracing their grandfather.

“I appreciate this, Janice. I know you don’t have to do this.”

“Dad, they love their Grandpa and want to spend time with him.”

Thank God Janice was so forgiving and the kids were so loving.

Dean kneeled down and excitedly announced. “Guess what? Tomorrow, we’ll go on an airplane to where Grandpa lives in Florida. We’re going to have a terrific time over Spring break.”

Dean’s mistake cost him five years in prison away from his family. Now he was going to make up for lost time.

I wrote this in response to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction. The challenge is to use the photo prompt (see above) to write a complete story of no more than 200 words. My wee missive comes in at exactly 200.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.