This morning Leesa called me, left me a message, text messaged me, emailed me – all within the span of 20 minutes – to tell me that Endeavor was landing at Edwards AFB, a two-hour drive from where I live. If I hurried, she urged, if I hurried I could make it.
I didn’t get her messages. I was in the shower.
They hate landing in California because it’s an additional 1.7 million dollars to transport the craft back to Florida. I get it. So this was my chance, this was a west coast shuttle landing in what will shortly be the last shuttle landings ever. And I missed it.
About a half an hour ago I stood outside hoping they might for some totally unlikely reason decide a south-to-north entry over LAX and I might see them, but of course the sky was clear and blue and perfectly unmarred.
And then I heard the concussion.
I froze, because there were two. BOOMBOOM. Windows rattled on the apartment buildings next to me.
“It was an echo,” I said outloud. “That’s why there were two.”
I called Leesa while running back into the house, turned on NASA’s live feed.
And there she was, the big dumb goose, just floating in like she was meant to do it. Landed like a ballerina, two back wheels hitting at the same time, the smallest little jaunty puffs of smoke. Cheeky. I cried, of course, telling myself it was because I’m on my period and I’m always emotional in the morning. Except it’s not morning anymore. And I don’t cry on my period, I seethe.
Welcome back, Endeavor.