challenger.gifA teacher was going into space and I’m in fourth grade so that was a big deal. We did lots of assignments and activities about the whole thing. Like, we had to write a page on why our teacher should be going into space and why. I finished early and drew a picture of my teacher in a lunar module. A lot of kids stopped drawing stuff on their assignments in like second grade but I’m a good drawer and they never say I shouldn’t draw on my assignments so I do.

A teacher going into space was such a big deal that they let us watch the launch on TV. They wheeled a huge cart into our classroom, with big ikd black-and-white set sitting on top of it. The picture came in bad sometimes but you could mostly see everything. Other classes came into ours to watch it too. There were kids in there I’d never seen before, not even on the playground.

The footage was boring for a real long time. Shots of the spaceship from real far away and lots of newspeople talking. I hated newspeople, with their big heads and weird hair. The News was something my dad watched so I couldn’t watch any more cartoons.

We saw the astronauts including the teacher walk into the spaceship and wave, and the it took forever for anything else to happen. And then there was a countdown and all the kids counted down from 10 to 0, and then the spaceship took off. It looked weird in black and white. The edges of the smoke blurred and almost burned the screen.

And after the spaceship was in the air for a while, it just of disappeared. At first I couldn’t tell if something weird happened or if it was just the crappy reception on the TV. But it looked like the fire took over the whole ship, and then it all turned to smoke, and then the smoke divided and split off into different directions. It kind of looked like a Y.

My teacher turned off the TV and told us we all had to go back to our desks and classes. So we did and we were all really quiet. I thought to myself, “That couldn’t be real, right? That was a show or something. Because if it was real, then all those astronauts are dead and the teacher too. So of course that wasn’t real.”

I think everyone else thought the same thing, because nobody said anything and nobody talked about. Not any kids and not my teacher. And not the next day or the day after that.

The next morning, the newspaper had a picture of that Y-shaped smoke thing on the cover, in color. The newspaper never had color pictures. I guess that meant it really happened. But the color looked weird. It was too pink and orangey and the sky was more green than blue. It all looked so unreal to me.

I kept thinking, are they gonna find the teacher and the other astronauts? Like they had ejector seats or something? Because otherwise, they would’ve died and that couldn’t have happened. That’s just too…it’s too something. I don’t know.

I keep all my homework because sometimes I like to go back and read the stuff I wrote and look at old drawings, and sometimes I’ll get stickers from them too. But I don’t think I have those assignments I did where I wrote about my teacher going into space and drew her in a lunar module. Maybe I lost them. Maybe she lost them. I was gonna ask about them but I feel like I shouldn’t. Like, we should keep not talking about it for a really long time.