To the Stars, to the Stars, to the Stars

Photography by Joey Spadoni

It was time, and She knew it. 
All of Her hard work, all of those long hours,
All that struggle and strife, 
It had all led Her to this Moment. 

She’d been strapped in for hours, 
The crew was running their diagnostic tests,
Making sure there was enough food for the journey, 
Enough air, enough everything. 

The harness holding Her in place felt too tight,
But She knew from the simulations that it was suppose to be. 
It isn’t everyday a person flies into outer space, She thought, 
Especially a person like Her. 

They’d told Her from the start that She wouldn’t make it. 
They’d said She wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t good enough. 
They’d made Her journey harder, harder than it had to be. 
The comments, the insults, the unwanted advances, all of it. 

She hadn’t taken no for an answer; She wouldn’t be denied. 
Her dream was to fly between planets, to see other worlds, 
And nothing would stand in Her way.

As a little girl She’d dreamt of the cosmos, 
Watched the twinkling lights outside Her bedroom window. 
She’d imagined Herself discovering foreign galaxies,
Inventing new ways to reach the unreachable. 

Then without any warning at all,
Her earpiece began to buzz, 
And the familiar voice said the phrase She’d been waiting for all Her life.
“It’s time.”

I’m ready, She thought to Herself. This is my Moment
After years of studying, years of calculating, 
Years of training, and years of testing, 
She was ready. It’s time

As the launch sequence began, 
She closed Her eyes and thought of why She was strapped to that chair,
About to see the unseen, 
About to go where no one had gone before. . . .

As a seven-year-old,
Unwrapping the package and gasping at the tiny spaceship. 
“That’s a toy for boys,” snorted Her Uncle, “Give that to Your brother.”

“Excellent work,” commented Mrs. Gregory, “A+,”
The old fourth grade teacher smiled down at Her,
“Your model of the solar system is superb.”

Being outnumbered 100 to 1 in all of Her classes,
Feeling the eyes of everyone on the back of Her head. 
Striving to beat them in everything, because She had to. 

Suddenly an intrusive thought erupted in Her mind.
This isn’t working!
Her heart was racing and Her vision blurred. 

Had She made a huge mistake?
Couldn’t She have just been like everyone else?
Wouldn’t a life on the ground have been easier?

She took a deep breath, then another, 
Steadying Herself, refocusing. 
Just breathe, She thought to Herself.

No one had told Her She was special.
No one had said She was destined for interstellar travel. 
She had believed in Herself, and She had chosen this path. 

I can do this
I can do this
I can do this

There was no one there to help Her, 
No one there to dry Her eyes. 
There was only one person on that spaceship and that person was Her. 

And then She smiled to Herself, finally at peace in that Moment.
By the strength of Her will and the power of Her spirit, 
She had proven them wrong, every last one of them.

In truth, it had all been just a blur;
She hardly remembered leaving the atmosphere. 
But once She felt the weightlessness, 
She knew it was time. 

Opening Her eyes and reaching forward,
She grasped the stirring wheel, taking control of the ship. 
Where to first, She thought to Herself. 
To the stars, to the stars, to the stars

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