Afterwards, the cast from the show came to visit us in school. They conducted a kind of workshop about Wilkonia, during which we did drawings, made up stories and created giant posters, all because, they said, at the end of this preparation we were going to get on a rocket and fly to Wilkonia. We were going to meet Wilko and his people!
I could not believe my ears. As we were leaving the room, forming a line while the actors were distributing space passports to all of us, I could not contain my joy. I was all like “Can you believe it? We are going into space! This is awesome!” I was happy because I was a young kid dreaming about the stars, as many other 7 years old kids do.
So, the actors arranged the chairs in two rows, and one by one they made us climb aboard the “rocket”. They told us to hold on, because the take-off would have been rough. The captain shut an invisible door. The actors made some noise, inviting us to follow the movements of the rocket with our body. Finally, the captain announced the landing, and gave us permission to get off. We got up from our seats, and we scattered across the room where the workshop was being held.
I was puzzled. Was it a test launch, like the ones astronauts do with simulators, to train for space flight? After all, we did not wear spacesuits or helmets. I looked at my friends, but I could not find on their faces any trace of disappointment or surprise. Didn’t they realize that something wasn’t right? We walked towards the exit, forming again a quiet queue. At the door, one of the actors was stamping the passports, bidding us welcome on the planet. When my turn came, I dared to ask, “When do we actually go to Wilkonia?”. “We have just arrived!” she replied, stamping my card, showing an unusual enthusiasm for a simple space custom officer. “But I mean, *really* go” I wanted to add. The line moved on.
It was at this point that I realized that we would have never gone to space. That Wilkonia, which might not even have been real, would have existed only in our giant posters and drawings. I thought it wasn’t nice of them to pretend that a row of chairs was a rocket ship that would take us into space, when in fact it did not even move from the room. And the stupid passport with the mouse-shaped stamp? Just a useless prop.
I still remember the disappointment of that broken promise. I was a child who had been denied Space.
But I’m not a child anymore. I’m a grown man. I’m ready to take back the promise they have stolen from me. Next month, I will embark on the Monitor Celestra.