A Trip for Grandpa
A Journey to the Stars
$20,000 and a trip to the stars—Edgar couldn’t believe he was finally following in his grandfather’s footsteps. He’d even brought along the old man’s journal. His grandfather had dreamed of reaching the stars, and now Edgar could step onto literal stardust in just a few hours.
He hugged the book to his chest and thought of the old man’s stories from his childhood. Apparently, his grandfather had always had to walk to school, in the snow, and always up hill. As a child, the winds would sometimes grow so strong, that the children would have to fill their pockets with rocks so as not to be blown away.
Edgar flipped open the little black notebook to the pages of this particular story, and found a worn photo of his grandfather as a child. His nose looked runny even in the black and white image. It must have been a windy day, because the boy’s hair stood on end, nearly straight up and down. Then again, his grandfather’s hair had always looked like that—like he’d found an electrical socket in the dark, using a fork.
“Now Boarding Flight 0670601.” The mechanical voice held little emotion as it made the announcement, but Edgar’s heart leapt into his throat and stayed there—ready to camp out for the duration of the flight. The group of bundled up strangers around him gathered their luggage and made their way to a small desk near a huge wall of windows looking out on a blinding night sky, full of star fire. They formed a line. Which seemed, to Edgar, rather anti-climactic given the setting. Edgar slung his bag over his shoulder and stepped up to the queue, now officially the last in line.
A nearby spaceship set off its engine; white-hot flames issuing from the tiny ship’s backside with tremendous force. In a blink, the ship was gone, the only evidence of its departure a seared line of white in Edgar’s retina. A sign on the window kindly reminded passersby to not stare directly at the flames, and reminded any onlookers that the spaceport was not in fact liable for any damage to vision.
It seemed to Edgar that everyone around him had probably been to the space station at least one hundred times before. Everyone was plugged in to their screens, catching up on the latest sports, news or dramas. No one was carrying anything paper—nothing old and tattered, yellowing and maybe a little smelly. Edgar had spilled his drink on the book when the first spaceship of the day had taken off. He hadn’t been ready for the noise and light.
Edgar hugged the slightly soggy notebook closer to his chest. Then he remembered; he had a duty. Opening the book, and quickly wiping the last of the coffee stains onto his pants, off the damp pages, he retrieved a pen from his pack and began to draw. His grandfather had been a very wordy man. He could go on for hours. The family used to like to joke that he could outtalk a chicken. They’d had particularly noisy chickens on the farm. The joke never landed with anyone outside of the family—mostly because nobody kept chickens anymore.
The occasional flashing of the departing spaceships made it difficult to concentrate, but Edgar was nearly finished with a sketch of the spaceport when it was his turn to board.
Twenty minutes later and he was buckled in, his face flapping in the g-force. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a fellow passenger struggling with her dentures. Once they hit zero gravity, she was going to have to keep her mouth closed in order to not lose them. Edgar smiled; his grandfather would have spit his own dentures out on purpose. He would probably have “accidentally” hit them toward the pilot and then he would have told Edgar to catch them. Edgar smiled as his hair lifted off gracefully and began to dance in the zero gravity. He turned the page in the notebook and sketched out a picture of his grandfather spitting dentures in zero gravity. He chuckled out loud and his neighbor looked concerned.
Finally they arrived. Walking out onto the observation deck, Edgar hurried over to the window looking down on the blue marble of home. He turned to the first page of the little black book and pressed it to the window. The photo of his grandfather, with Edgar on his knee holding a space ship figurine, looked out on the stunning view of earth below.
“See grandpa? We made it.” Edgar smiled. A tear rolled down his cheek, and he could almost feel his grandfather’s hand on his shoulder.
About the author
Elizabeth's claims to fame include being born a baby with prominent eyebrows, adding extra stitches to her knitting with impressive consistency, and loving all things learning, culture, and creativity—save when graded for a master's thesis.