“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind…”
“Momma, did Neil Armstrong really say that?” I smile. My little boy circles around me in his school uniform, toy spaceship in quick pursuit of the hand that holds it. It’s a new question every day. It’s a new obsession every week. There’s a new Neil-of-the-past to learn about and read to death all the time.
“I dunno Neil, maybe he didn’t sat that. Does it even matter?” my teenage daughter answers for me, rolling her eyes while shouldering her backpack. “Come on, we’ll be late for school.”
“Of course it matters!” Neil argues, easily swiping his own bag. “He wouldn’t say that if he knew where we’d be today, would he?” He grabs toast and he puts on his shoes. “Mr Armstrong would probably say something like ‘This is the first step on New American soil’… Or something.” He frowns, knowing his words didn’t come out right. But then he’s up and his worries fall away to the ground.
Lydia struggles with her own shoes. “That’s the stupidest thing anyone could ever say.” She struggles some more with the meddlesome straps. I fight the urge to help her. What could I really do that would help? Besides, she needs to get used to them sometime. Soon she’s up too, though not as naturally as her younger brother.
I smile again, at my two children, though I can sense that it’s a wistful kind of smile and I fight to replace it with my usual kind of smiles. The Earthborn and the Moonling. The corner of my lips tremble. I hope the children don’t see. But they’re already out the door, shambling to school with odd, irregular steps (mainly constituting of step float land, step float land) their school uniforms very much like the outer-space costumes I used to see during Halloween as a child.
Again, I notice Lydia’s steps are much more calculated than her brother’s — slower. She is being cautious. Walking… Walking on the Moon does not come naturally for her. One wrong step and she could twist her ankle or even break a leg. She is Earth-born. She has Earth legs. Ones that have touched the ground and long for the solidity of them beneath her feet.
Neil is different. He is a Moonling. He is a child of the Moon and it’s lack of gravity. Moonlings, they don’t understand at all what it means to have firmness beneath their feet. They lark around like they were born to fly without gravity. Which is quite rigĥtly so. But their bones are weak. You can see it too. Their legs; the muscles are all soft and shriveled up, smaller than the rest of themselves. Children of the Moon. Children who can never land on Earth. Children who one day, would eventually be born without legs at all.
To walk on the Moon…
To be an Earthborn and walk without fear?
To be a Moonling and live with the certainty that your legs will one day desert you?
To walk on the Moon… Who would you rather be?
Daily Post (23/02/14): Walking on the Moon
Hello, I’m Aidah. 🙂 I’m sorry for the absence. I’m trying to make an effort to write more nowadays, and actually properly participate in these Daily Prompts as well as come up with my own stuff too. I hope you stay around for some of them. I really appreciate your reading of this post, and (possibly) having liked it. 🙂 Thank you so much! I hope you have a great day 🙂
Much love, A