3, 2, 1. I started to fade, fall into the comfortable chair and just fall asleep. I was exhausted as a middle school student on a Monday morning. You know, I just said that I wouldn’t fall asleep in cars. Why not try to stay up. Entertaining myself was not easy. We were stuck on a 4 lane highway in what looked to be a city. It must be further out by now. My mom pointed out that we had just passed under the Disney sign. We must be close at least in Orlando. At that point, I must have plain passed out. I was a bear in hibernation. According to my mom, I slept the rest of the way.
I must have missed all the traffic because, when I woke up we were entering a large parking lot. It looked a lot like the airline parking lot on a busy day. It was bright and sunny and the air smelled of flowers. There was something in the distance, a pinnacle of sorts, it shined with the brilliance of a thousand suns. It looked as if it was touching the sky. With a sudden stop, I was thrown forward in my seat.
“Alex put your sunscreen on, ” my dad said. I was 10 and was very reluctant to do so, and was undecided about leaving the car. After what seemed like an eternity, I decided to jump out of the car. Grabbing the handle, I felt a blistering heat creep up my wrist. I guess the sun did want to kill me. I released the handle and leaped back into the car. To my surprise, Brian (my brother) had moved over to my seat and was slathering on sunscreen. Grappling for anything I could get my hands on, I stopped thinking as I grabbed the hot door and pulled myself up. Again I felt a burning sensation. (By this time my brother had noticed the blistering head, and had jumped out of the car) To my delight. I fell back down eager to leave. There must have been something in that sunscreen as I felt a brisk breeze come over my body. A shadow spreading over my body flowing around my hand and neck. My dad, towering over me, ready to go. At least, he must have been ready. I suddenly remembered what we were here for. I grabbed the door handle and to my surprise was not burned by the heat, but soothed by the cold. Finally, outside I started to run off towards the entrance. My brother started shouting out to my dad. I ignored him. I thought that I should stop just for a moment, but right when I was going to, until my excitement caught up to me, I kept me going past the globe and right up to the gate.
I stopped, mesmerized, by what I could see. In the distance, clearer than ever, huge buildings leading up to towers that reached for the sky were seen. Feeling a small tap on my shoulder, I spun around, only to see the rest of my family ready to go.
“Alex, let’s go, we don’t want to be late” my dad exclaimed. . . . .
I had thought that after we had finally gotten through security I could finally run off.
My dad grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me back to the group. “We’ve got special tickets just for you. We are going to see the launch tower”.
Standing there confused, waiting for it to register. Later then I should have, I replied “Really?? Where do we have to go?
“My dad replied, “Right over there. Let’s go”. Squealing with excitement, I sprinted past my dad to the futuristic-looking bus. I stopped remembering my dad had our tickets.
“Dad, hurry up!” I shouted. After we had all finally caught up with Dad, we slowed down into a strait line behind him. He had showed the attendants the tickets, and we could go on. About five minutes into the trip, I started whispering, asking my dad questions about the space center, including.
“Where were the Apollo missions launched?” and
“Where were the rockets built?”
Just as I would ask my dad, the bus turned and showed me the answer. It was almost as if the bus could hear my whispers. I immediately stopped talking, awe-struck, and layed back to admire the view. The expanse looked as if it might go until the end of the earth. There was something on the announcements but I wasn’t paying attention. I was staring out the window. The sight was staring back at me. Slowly crawling forward. It wasn’t just big, it was huge, almost like approaching the size of a gigaparsec (3.19 billion “light years”(5,879,000,000,000 miles or 9,461,333,376,000 kilometers. )). . . . I must have fallen asleep again, because when I woke up we were in a giant aircraft hanger, looking at a replica of the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket. Compared to the engines, it was as if I was a fly next to a house. The next exhibit was an era of space flight. I ran down through the aisles, dad’s phone in my hands, snapping photos at every turn. Almost smashing into the wall, I turned into the astronaut exhibit to be greeted with 9 different displays. A hero is passionate, curious, tenacious, inspired, confident, disciplined, principled, selfless and courageous. By that time my dad grabbed my shoulder and said: “It’s time to go, we will be coming back later”. What did he mean, we were coming back tonight? Doesn’t the space center close by the evening?. To find out for myself, I opened my dad’s phone and checked the closing time. It would be 6:00 pm, and it was 5:50 now and there had been no announcements. I didn’t ask anything else. The rest in the evening nothing big happened. My family and I left the launch center and went to get dinner. We got back into the car and started driving. I did not recognize it at first, but we were back at the launch center. “Dad, why are we going back?”, I said. . . .
It was several hours later as the clock winded down -5, -4, ignition, liftoff.