I had a very specific word limit for this assignment – it was going to go on for longer but it wouldn’t fit. I came up with this totally original idea to end it.
Space is so very, very dark and trying to move in it is like trying to swim through the ground while blindfolded. It’s like trying to stumble your way to bathroom at 3am. It’s like playing blind mans bluff by yourself. My brain fumbled for other metaphors as I floated around.
I could see the satellite in the distance, heading around earth again. It didn’t seem like such a good idea now, to go outside without a rope. In the long run it probably would have been a lot easier to just clip onto a cable. The satellite moved further away, it was getting hard to see now, I could just barely make out a reflection of light from it. I tried to move again, making awkward swimming motions but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I was glad that there was nobody around to see me, I must look like an idiot, floating around in a space suit with no cable.
I was beginning to get slightly worried, the satellite had disappeared completely now and it was going to take a while for it to come back. I was sure I would be able to float my way into its path, or even where the path was. Actually, I wasn’t sure where I was floating, it was getting harder to judge distances now that there wasn’t anything to go off of.
I began to slowly move towards the earth, tumbling around like a sock in dryer, if dryers had zero gravity and socks were astronauts. I wondered if it would it be best to go for a swan dive and hope that I was going to land in water or to just try and bend my knees, maybe go for a gymnastic type roll. Gymnastics had never been a strong spot for me, I’d taken a few courses before but hadn’t got past cartwheels and somersaults. Then again, diving wasn’t a strong suit either – maybe I should just go for the world’s biggest cannonball.
Perhaps, I thought, it would be like the cartoons, after falling thousands of feet from the sky I would land in a convenient pile of hay or a truck transporting pillows. It would have to be a rather large pile of hay though. Maybe I would try to aim for Texas – that would have the highest chance of a big hay pile. I suppose snow would work as well, if I could land in a big snowdrift. I was moving faster now and I could make out countries on the planet. I seemed to be headed for Cuba which might be alright, at least there was water around the islands. I remember watching a show once where somebody broke their fall by going through a glass roof on a train station. I wasn’t yet close enough to see any train stations but I made a mental note that it could be a possibility. How much more time would I have, I wondered, before I hit the ground. I was a lot closer now and still couldn’t see any hay stacks or train stations. This was a huge bummer.
“Johnson!”, my instructor yelled. The hatch opened and light flooded into my virtual test pod.
“Did you pay any attention this morning? Always clip onto the cable! Always!”, he yelled in my ear.
“Sir, yes sir, I just…forgot”, I pulled myself out of the pod and headed off towards the showers, same as last week.
“I probably could have found a haystack”, I muttered as the door shut behind me.