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Recently posted this on FaceBook, decided I should post here as well, as this is more reliable.



Unlike many on my friends list, I actually remember the events depicted in this movie. I was eight. When moon landing was broadcast, the entire Bamber Bridge Primary school were gathered in the school hall to watch it on the school's single
television that was a huge black & white monstrosity.

I felt lucky to be at a school that had a television. Our family didn't own one, my mother had to make do with the radio broadcast where she worked as a receptionist for an optician. My father was one of a huge crowd who skipped work and gathered round the television display in the window of Preston's fanciest department store.

After watching it, my best friend at the time, J.J. ( I know longer know what the initials stood for, if I ever did.) said "I'm gonna do that when I grow up." Robert said "But you're a girl!" J.J. said "So?" in that sort of voice that dared anyone else to come up with similar irrelevancies. No-one did. I smiled at J.J and said "Me too."

Over the next few weeks J.J., Robert, & I explored the school yard and various woods and demolition sites on the long walk home as astronauts. We bounced over terrain trying to emulate that well-known, slow-motion. 0.6G dance we'd all seen on various broadcasts, talking to each other in clipped, scratchy voices with added squawks, clicks, and beeps.

Between us we pushed human exploration as far as Neptune as we searched the few books in the library for new worlds to explore. For our game they had to be real worlds though, not the ones in stories.

I especially remember Neptune because it was cold & dark, and even in the heated space suits and with the torches. J.J. admitted it was cold and suggested that we cuddle to keep warm. I agreed, even though that meant I'd have to (ewww!) touch a girl. I was willing to make that sacrifice for the good of the expedition. Robert thought it was silly, and said his suit had super-heaters and he didn't need to cuddle.

As the sun set and "Neptune" started getting really cold, we waited for the call from Mission Control that would mean we'd have to make our way back to our individual space capsules where our mothers were making our dinners (how could brave astronauts survive for months-long journeys without bringing their mothers to cook for them?), J.J. said "How do astronauts kiss with these helmets on?"

Just like a girl I thought, bringing silly love stuff into an otherwise exciting adventure. But I didn't vocalize that thought, because a) she'd probably hit me, and b) well, astronauts on a mission didn't argue, they just solved problems together.

"They'd bring their helmets together and pretend to kiss, but they'd do it without talking about it, so Mission Control didn't know what they were doing." I said. J.J. thought a moment. "You're right" she said "Mission Control would giggle if astronauts kissed."

"Hey look, there's an interesting rock!" she said, pointing to behind an allotment shed, and she bounced slowly over to it, with me following behind. As we reached it, J.J. held a finger several centimeters in front of her lips, miming the "be quiet" sign over an astronaut's helmet. Then she stuck her lips out in an over-emphasized kiss, and motioned me toward her.

I probably would have told her not to be silly, except, well, we were just pretending and we had pretended before to be James Bond and his extremely capable female fellow agent. Then I'd had to point out that even though James Bond did it, it wasn't very professional to kiss during a mission. This wasn't as bad as that, as we were separated by our space helmets. I moved and crouched a bit so my face lined up with hers, and we moved our faces together until our helmets touched.

J.J. still had her kiss going, and closed her eyes, so I did the same. We were like that for what seemed like some time, eyes closed with mouths in kiss formation, until I suddenly felt her nose and lips touch mine. I was startled and jumped back flustered.

"You broke our helmets!" I yelled. She just grinned & looked satisfied before miming asphyxiation. Luckily Robert had heard my yell over the radios, and rescued us with mimed "emergency breathing masks". I could tell he was suspicious about the "rock fall" that had broken our helmets though.

So that was how this astronaut had his first kiss on Neptune.

I wonder if J.J. ever made it?

(Note: not everything above actually happened as written, I just felt inspired to write it out as a story in homage of Neil Armstrong and my remembrance of the childhood his Apollo XI mission influenced. Though most of it did happen sort of like that. :) )

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mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
mundens

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