Over my right shoulder the water was pink and the Western sky was burning. When I looked over my left shoulder, though, deep indigo was leaching like watercolour into the clouds and, serene in her ascent, the Moon hung cradled in a cool glow.
It made me stop in the middle of the lane. We’ve been there, I thought, and then, I could go there.
Someone like me has decided to go to another planet. Someone like me has designed the rocket and made the parts and built the ship. Someone like me has travelled into the darkness and touched the surface of somewhere which is not Earth. Fucking hell.
But you don’t want to go to the Moon, a small voice told me. My neck hurt from looking up. I thought, You could, if you wanted to, but you’re not that type of person. You want to do other things. Things just as amazing. You want to find other moons.
Moons in literature. Moons in music. Moons in art and in words and in creating new things and in discovering something new and important. Moons which I can go to, just so long as I am here, and I am alive.
I kicked off my shoes. The tarmac was still warm and the small stones bit softly at the fleshy part of my sole. I am alive, I thought, and I am standing on a road which someone planned and built, which carries cars which have engines which let us travel all over the world. They were all created by someone like me and I am here.
Someone has named the birds I can see flitting over the fields. Someone has catagorised them so they can be studied and we can understand how they work. Someone has decided that would be a good thing to do, even though they are nothing like us. Someone like me has worked it out.
Someone has thought they are pretty, and taken a pencil or a brush or a piece of charcoal or a camera, and made a replica. Someone has created a way of communicating without sound, through specifically organised symbols which are called words, and someone has written about them. Someone like me.
Austen and Mozart have made new moons. The things they created are still being discovered, over and over, hundreds of years after they finished them. Chaucer and Shakespeare and the Bronte's and Dickens too. Beethoven and Handel. They all went to the Moon.
A car appeared, and I stepped onto the bank to let it pass. The land was so flat and the sky so vast that when I turned around with my eyes open it was hard to believe that I could not see everything there was to see. I am alive, I thought, and I can feel the wind on my face and the grass under my feet and – ouch – the stinging nettle between my toes. I laughed.
I am alive and there is so much to do and so much of it which I can do. I just need to live. And no letter on a piece of paper, or acceptance by a university, can ensure I do that nor prove I can’t. I can go to the Moon. That’s why A Level results don’t matter.