Phillip first saw the girl on the moon when he was seven; she scratched ‘hello’ into the grey dust with her bare feet. The next morning, Phillip doused the garden with weedkiller to spell out a reply.
‘Do you want to come and visit?’ she mouthed from over 238,855 miles away.
Phillip nodded and trotted across the room to get his box of crayons. Over the next few weeks, he wrote letters to NASA, Roscosmos and CNSA, politely requesting a seat on their next trip into space.
When they didn’t reply, he built his own rocket in the back garden. With a colander for a helmet and his dad’s work jacket for a spacesuit, he sat in a cockpit of toilet roll tubes and television remotes preparing for blast off. Final checks completed, he tugged the bed linen over the hatch under the kitchen chair and began the countdown.
Launch was indefinitely suspended due to inclement weather and tea time.
‘238,855 miles is a very long way away, dear,’ his mother consoled as Phillip stared up out of the window.
So, Phillip gets old. He no longer dreams of the galaxies and the stars and he has forgotten all about the imaginary girl on the moon. But, the girl on the moon has not forgotten about him.
She is older now too, but she still looks out for him, staring down at the planet below; counting down the continents as they dance by. When England appears on the horizon, she throws rocks at his window to try and get his attention. They always burn up over the Atlantic Ocean.
Years pass and Phillip doesn’t look up at her twice. Heartbroken, she weeps in the swallowing dark, knees folded into her chest. Small blue droplets drift off into the darkness, before being swept away towards the ball of gas roaring silently in the night’s sky.