You’ve been in the space shuttle for quite some time now. You’ve seen the black abyss outside your little window, you’ve re-enacted the Homer Simpson crisp eating scene, and you’ve found out how to urinate successfully in zero gravity. But when all the fun and giggles of living in outer-space wear off…is it time to return to Earth?
Perhaps you live in fear of your crew mate because they tamper with the oxygen buttons and the exit hatch sometimes. Perhaps space food gives you the shits. Perhaps you miss wearing jumpers and leather boots instead of your unflattering puffy space suit. Silver was never your colour.
Sometimes you stare down at the blob of earth and water, suspended like a little green pea in a bowl of black jelly. You wonder what’s going on down there. How many wars are raging? What’s the price of milk? You don’t know what music people are listening to anymore. Are your friends drunk and fighting in the toilets of a club? Is your mum at yoga? You float over to the circular window and flick your eyes between the sun and the earth, noticing the shadow that falls over Asia. No. It’s still daytime in England. I wonder if Friends is still popular? Of course it is. You laugh about that funny bit from the One About The Cheesecake. You laugh. You laugh even harder. Cheesecaaake! Your crew mate stares. You miss television.
You miss television just like you miss the crowded bus ride home. Like you miss cooking average tasting pasta. Like you miss asking your mum if she likes ‘seafood’ at the dining room table. Like you miss the smell of your pillows. Like you miss the city, the slow pace of country life and £1 Jagerbombs. You hate space. Space is shit. You refuse to lift up your space visor for three days and listen to Radiohead on repeat.
But you’re being ungrateful and, as always, you’re missing the point. You came to outer-space to learn, to learn about yourself, about others, about science and culture and language and responsibility. Not many people make it to space. It requires a certain type of person. You wanted to return to Earth as some victorious, cool, knowledgable creature who spoke of the dark things that space had taught you about yourself and about humanity and bollocks like that. You look around the lonely white pod and you’re not sure if you can be that person- or that you even want to be that person anymore. You’re just someone who’s floating in a pod with no idea of what you want or what you’re doing with your life.
But then you look out of the window again into an infinite crush of stars and galaxies. You remember the first time you looked up into the sky from Earth and saw the Milky Way. It looked like a smudge of cream in a chocolate cake. Those times as a child when you refused to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in Earth dialect and, instead, sung it in Martian. The other children didn’t want to be your friend after that. You turn back to the dashboard and change the direction of the space-ship. Are we going home? says your crew mate. No, you reply, we’re going to travel through space until we come to a dead-end.
It had always been your destiny to become an astronaut. You love space. Somewhere in the billion particles of space dust that you’d blown out of the rockets exhaust pipe, were the reasons why you had come to space in the first place. And now, you could see them all floating around the ship, as they were turned golden by the sun.