Rocket Girl

Christopher Michel

She has grown up reading about space. In comics.
Iron Man flying into space in his iron suit. Fighting aliens.
Silver surfer on his silver board. Traversing universes.

It was her brother’s comics in which she found a new world.
A world she was fascinated in.

Around Christmases, under the trees, she would open gifts from her family. Barbies, plush toys, and dresses with Cinderella and Elsa on them
 — there was absolutely nothing wrong about them.
In fact, she adored them.
Yet she found herself going back to her brother’s comics time and again.

She has grown up watching space. In movies.
How rockets vroomed into space. Spacemen,
in their white spacesuits,
floating in spacecrafts.
With a cable joined at waist, landing on an asteroid to blast it off,
 or floating in space, repairing a broken part on the outside of their spacecraft.

Her focus was more on what was behind them.
The darkness.
The blackness.
With tiny white sparkling dots.
Planets far away, most of the times not visible on screen,
but she could see them.

Panels from comics merged with frames in movies.
She knew space.

When her parents took her brother to a planetarium, she followed.
Large telescopes,
roofs with solar system painted on,
gift shops with toy spaceships,
what was there to not adore?

When they took her to disney land, she did enjoy.
But….
She would have much preferred to go to a planetarium.
She would have much preferred to go to space.

She would have much preferred to become a Rocket Girl.

But the reality was a tad different.
The school. The world.
Every girl she met played with dolls.
Every boy with space toys, did not let her in.

Makeup, movies, fashion and pop songs….
These were the topics of conversations among her friends.

The few girls who shared her interest in space slowly disappeared.
They changed.

Beliefs about what a girl should do,
and not do,
circled her like a whirlpool, dragging her down,
until she would lose all interest in science,
until she would forget her dream.
In a world of stereotypes,
she did not want to end up becoming someone else.

She tried hard.
She arched over social expectations.
Expectations that she would find a job to settle in.
Expectations that she would find a man to settle with.

It took time. It did. Years. Years of solitude.

Years when her hopes were let down several times. Years when she feared she would not achieve her goal.

But she did, at last.

Now she is floating.
Outside her spaceship.
Cable joined at her waist.
The whole fucking world before her eyes.
Amidst the stars.
The moon visible on horizon.

She knows she has achieved her dream.
She knows she has become what she wanted to.

She yells, loud enough for the whole universe to hear her. “I am the Rocket Girl.”


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