It was not long after the payload fairing was jettisoned and the spaceship revolved about its centre of mass preparing for the next manoeuvre that we promptly were greeted with the phenomenal vista—only very few people would get the right set of circumstance to witness it—that of the big blue planet reflecting the brilliant sunbeam with its majestic azure sky and sea.
The cotton candy clouds, from a distance, evoked the faintest hint of bokeh effect often found in macroscopic image. But it was the perspective of the apparent small image of the massive object before your eyes—the planet—that induced the perception that for every dot or pixel of those terrene views resides hundred thousands of oblivious lives preoccupied with the noise and lies of the hectic, mundane daily life.
It was not long after that we were then appalled by a sudden but steady knock on our spaceship hatch—in the middle of the outer space. Vacuum and deeply vast.
The knocking was persistent as if it was waiting to be invited and brought in. Bedazzled and spooked, we looked at each other in confusion.
“You guys, we didn’t leave behind any one of us last time we stopped by the roadside en route to the orbit, did we?”
One fellow colleague broke a joke out of the anomaly—notwithstanding the odd issue we were yet to address at the time.
Our gaze in awe at the majestic mother Earth’s panorama was totally robbed by the sudden knocking on the hatch from the vacuum outside.
What now? Who was on the other side of that bespoke door that was engineered to safeguard us all, the space voyagers, from the absolute zero vacuum of the cosmos, yet equally to serve as one of the accesses to the station awaited of us nearby? Could it miraculously be another fellow human—that wouldn’t have some sort of tentacles or an instinct of predation?
And then there was none. It apparently had stopped knocking the spaceship hatch. It then followed by a faint sound of, to a degree, a low-toned rumbling against the composite of Kevlar and Titanium skin of the spaceship.
We were utterly shocked by what immediately appeared outside one corner of the spaceship windscreen—a young woman floating in the empty space before our eyes. Instead of a spacesuit, she wore quite a decent sundress embroidered with bright yellow daisies. In spite of the unexpected creepiness amidst of engineering marvel and the wonders of the nature, I must say the young lady did have a lovely, fair cute face with her shoulder-long, dark-brown silky hair gracefully swaying in the weightless vacuum. Her gleaming viridescent eyes were inkling the same merry expression as her rosy plump lips were giving us a dearly smile.
How did she breathe? Shouldn’t she? But how? Shouldn’t she be gasping for air or frozen solid? Should we let her in? Was she real, or were we simultaneously delusional of the same thing? Was she really a human? She had to be an alien with that effortless strolling outside there in the outer space. Had she projected straight out of a memory from our mind? I couldn’t recognize her—but what if she was an amalgamation of women I had known?
What terrified us more was she waved at us with those smiles on her seemingly lovely face and gestured towards the spaceship hatch.
“Somebody lost his girlfriend? Anyone wanna report this to the concierge desk?” Another uncelebrated joke broke the ineffable silent ambience in the cockpit.
I somehow saw the friendliness in her look, in her alluring smile, and in the way she waved her fair, dainty palm. But how genuine were those smiles, was the burning question we had running in our head.
We continued our trajectory regardless, towards the space station awaiting of our arrival, with tight-lipped about what was lurking outside watching us relentlessly. We concertedly decided not to entertain what appeared to be the young woman. We knew it wasn’t worth the risk, despite our unceasing curiosity. For a while, we were really a curious Schrodinger’s cat inquisitive of what could be outside the box but with absolute certainty of equal chance between two opposing outcomes.
We ignored her. She kept drifting into the view of every windscreen of the spaceship. After quite some time, an unsettling gloomy sad expression—as gloom as the deep space—was swapped from her previous, more-soothing smiles. Eventually, she pushed away from our spaceship, and drifted away into the dark and vast emptiness of the cosmos. Eyes were still locked on us, sharp. Converged eyebrows and pouty lips—were a sight we’d have never forgotten in the middle of outer space.
I watched as her petite body gradually vanished into the observable universe’s pitch-dark backdrop.
It was strangely frustrating but deep down I knew it was better that way.