Cape Canaveral - A Not So Tiny Memoir

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The car broke down - again - and I find myself stuck in a place half ways between nowhere in particular and everywhere else but here. And I am angry, as so often lately, for you are not next to me. 

You could have fixed this.

Like you fixed my mother's toaster and the colourful array of Volkswagen Beetles, each one older than me, that were collecting on the parking lot outside your inner city flat somewhere in Germany. 

I know you would fix this but there were the rockets flying above.

They first appeared between us when we watched debris falling down from the sky on my parents' old black and white TV - moments after the euphoric account of the school teacher who would go beyond what I regarded as high. 

She did not. You were angry, and I heard you say:

"I will build rockets one day and show them how it's done."

While I stared at the smoke and shocked faces in monochrome I could not help but snicker in contempt; for I did not know then what soon would be: I once dated a future rocket man.

The time came when I felt that I needed to go, without you for you said you had to stay. Three unis, four degrees and countless platinum blondes (remember, I am dark blonde, and it's all real) later, and bloody NASA actually called.

So off you went, even though you've said before you'd rather stayed, together with the newest blonde in tow. I was in Paris, or Barcelona, or Dublin, making new friends. And while I watched stars other than the ones you were aiming for (mine came on a carpet yet just as shiny before they fall) you drafted hulls that could hold engines in place; with a blonde that wasn't me reading Cookson in the camp.

Then came the time our own Challengers crashed down, leaving debris only and oncoming strife. You had to choose between a daughter back home and the dream of your youth (most scientists don't marry women who exclusively wonder what became of Linda Evangelista) and I had to run for my life.

Back home with your daughter, and the blonde not even close, you watched, like Oppenheimer before, how the plans and designs of your now broken dreams were used to built rockets of a different kind (just one word, Syria.)

I did not fare much better, if not worse, ending up slumming (however elegantly), and still abroad. Moving here, living there and tomorrow in another place. Some nights I awake, usually between 3 and 4, with a feeling of something (someone?) not being right. And I know that I have dreamt scenes of a life that never was meant to be.

And I think to make a call (yeah, I have your number) later on, but never quite manage to.

For I remember we don't speak, leaving it to our mothers who still do to admit to our mutual defeats. And this letter, as so many before, will sleep in some compartment in my car, mingling with sweets and receipts and the odd coin from afar.

While I watch the sun rise behind the trees and the hills, I wait for a mechanic who first has children to feed, and I have to acknowledge the fact that somewhere in this world there are men, and women too, who have their priorities intact.

Created: May 01, 2017

Tags: rockets, memoir, letter from the road

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