'Space' by SJ Holliday
There weren't that many female astronauts in the world and definitely none from Surrey. She was surprised when the letter came: white, windowed and official. It looked like a gas bill but the NASA logo gave it away. She sat on the floor to read it, let the carrier bags full of groceries spill out as the cat climbed over her and had a good rummage. Dear Amanda, it said. You have been selected for the International Astronaut Programme. She reached into the bag and randomly selected an apple. It might be the last one she had, for a while anyway. She was pretty sure you couldn't eat apples in space. Just packets of powdered things and pellets and water that would float all around you like bubbles. Did it turn back into liquid in your mouth? Did gravity affect your insides too? She wondered if her heart might shift out of place. The cat wouldn't be able to come either. She'd looked up a home for it when she'd applied, just in case. Linda's Pet Hotel looked okay. The cat would have to share a room with other cats, but that would be fine. Amanda would have to share a room too, she supposed. With other astronauts. She wondered where they'd be from and what they'd be like. Can you read books in space? Is there a TV? Can you wear make-up? What if they flew too close to the sun? So much to think about. She glanced up at the space suit hanging on the back of the door. Silver, glittery; a little pouch at the front to keep her phone in. She’d had it made ‘specially by the woman round the corner, the one that took up the hems on her jeans and sewed on buttons. It’d been hanging there for months. Just in case.