A mission and a letter to all she left behind
Love, Violet
I stood on the suspended metal platform, looking at the big rocket ship that loomed in front of me. The Communicator is written down one side in bold blue letters, and I gulp.
I hear footsteps coming towards me, and Skyler’s face appears at my side. She is also staring straight ahead, and then we turn towards each other. “We’re here, Vi,” she says breathlessly with wide eyes, “we’re finally here.”
A slow smile spreads across her face, and a mix of eagerness and panic are in her eyes as she combs a hand through her long brunette hair. “Yes we are. After sixteen years, here we are. This is going to be epic,” I announce, suddenly feeling determined as I grin a little.
She clears her throat nervously, and I raise an eyebrow. “I-I don’t know if I can do this,” she suddenly says, unable to meet my eyes as she takes a step back from me and nervously fiddles with her hands.
“What? Sky, we’ve been waiting our entire lives for an opportunity like this.” I reply. It’s quiet for a second between us until she finally meets my eyes.
“This is beyond incredible, Vi. But I feel like I’m not ready. I mean, everything just happened so fast! High school breezed by, then college, and now a mission. I don’t know if I can handle this!” Sky says, and I can tell she’s been agonizing over this for a while.
I reach out and grab her hand. “We can handle it. We’re prepared, and we’re together. I’ve had the best sixteen years with you, Sky. You were my first best friend, and you still are.” I once heard that eyes are the windows to the soul, and as I talked to Sky, her eyes grew more and more sad.
It was completely silent, and I dropped my hand, feeling defeated. “They want to suit you up.” She said bluntly, her mouth a thin line and guilt in her eyes as she turned on her heel and walked away.
Two hours later, I was dressed in a thick and heavy white suit with a clear helmet on my head, sitting horizontal with an empty seat next to me where Sky was supposed to be.
I try to suppress my sadness as my stomach does nervous flip after flip, and I feel like I’m going to puke. “Mission Control to Communicator, are you ready? Come in Communicator,” I hear through my headset.
“Nervous as heck, Mission Control, but ready as I’ll ever be.” I reply as I try to keep my voice steady. I hear some mumbling and people talking in the distance, and I overhear something about concerns with the oxygen levels, but then a clear voice comes through.
“Ready to begin countdown, Communicator,” someone says. “Is there an oxygen issue, Mission Control?” I ask, my heart racing as fast as an Olympic runner.
“No, statistics look fine from here, Communicator. Begin the countdown.” I take a deep breath and extend a shaking hand, my finger stopping just before I hit the red button that will send me into space in T-minus ten seconds.
I fill my lungs with another breath and then lightly tap the button. “Launching in ten seconds.... nine seconds.... eight seconds...” a female voice counts until it reaches one.
“Liftoff,” is all the voice says before I feel the spaceship quake, and the immense force weighs me down as the ship starts to rise. It rises higher and higher, the world around me becoming smaller and my surroundings growing darker until stars appear.
“Communicator, do you read me? Come in, Communicator.” I hear in my headset. “This is Violet Anderson from the Communicator. We are entering the atmosphere.” I reply. Then I hear a few distant cheers and some clapping, until it stops abruptly.
“Hello? Mission Control? This is the Communicator, come in Mission Control!” I say into the headset. Don’t panic, Vi, I repeat to myself. I press the button to release the rocket boosters since I’m now in the atmosphere, and unbuckle my seatbelt before floating weightlessly in the ship.
“Come in, Mission Control. Do you read me? This is the Communicator...” I trail off. A little static is heard, and I wince before relief washes over me. But it doesn’t last long.
“Communicator, this is Mission Control. We, um, we have some bad news...” the person trails off. “Communicator here. What is it?” I ask as fear forms a pit in my stomach.
“Well, Communicator, there’s an air leak in the ship. It wasn’t completely inspected, and your air supply is more limited than we thought.” They replied. I was completely silent for a second as I digested the information.
“Communicator, come in.” They repeated. I let a single tear escape, but held back many more. “Yes, yeah, Communicator here,” I replied. “We have to turn off the communication system, Communicator. It’s rapidly draining the ship’s battery. Over and out, and good luck, Communicator.”
Then static, and silence. Dead silence. I did what I used to do when I was a little girl; I pulled out a sheet of paper that was tucked in my pocket, grabbed a pen, and wrote.
Dear Reader,
If you are reading this, it could mean two things: I have died in space, or I have made it back to Earth safely. If I made it back, shred this letter now.
If I have not made it back, maybe it’s best that you know a bit about me. My name is Violet Anderson. I went to college and became an astronomer, and I had my first mission on a ship called the Communicator in the late summer of 1985.
Before the mission, I was supposed to take the journey with my best friend since kindergarten, Skyler Rose. But her nerves got the best of her, and maybe that ended up to be a good thing. The Communicator (the ship I was in) wasn’t fully inspected, and it sprung a leak while I was outside the atmosphere.
Skyler, if you happen to be reading this, I don’t want you to feel guilty. I am simply grateful that I am being taken, and that you still have the opportunity to live out your life.
I, however, am not so lucky. But just know that you were my only true friend, and I cherished every moment I was able to spend with you. Love you to the moon and back.
If you are my family, thank you so much for everything. I was so grateful and lucky to have parents that loved me eternally, and that supported my choices even though they knew life-threatening instances like this could happen.
Some of the fondest memories I have of my life is baking cookies with mom as the stereo played country music, or watching movie after movie with my sister Stella and brother Marco. And I could never forget the time I went fishing with dad and we didn’t catch a single thing, but had so much fun joking and laughing with each other. I will never forget these memories, and I’m so blessed to be able to recall memories of my loving family.
If you ever-so-happen to be my one high school boyfriend, Tom Schilling, thank you for the fun times we had. I’ll admit it, you were my crush since Elementary School. And you still are. But I just hope that you can find a girl who will love you as much as I did. Good luck, and remember that I will always love you to the stars and back.
As I’m recalling what might be my final memories, I realize that I had an action-packed life and was able to accomplish many of my goals. Straight A student my entire life, an amazing friend, loving family, an out-of-this-world career, and an awesome boyfriend.
So I’m no longer sad to be leaving this world. I am only happy to see what it will bring. And I hope anyone reading this also has a wonderful life, and knows that dreams are the number one thing to be chasing. Always aim for the moon, and if you can’t reach it, fall back on the stars. Love,
Violet Anderson.
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