My skin prickles when I peel my eyes off the TV to glance at my vibrating phone. The last time my brother texted me was months ago to say his wife survived with minor injuries a brush with an avalanche while skiing.

I smile, reading, “Captain Kirk is about to blast into space for real. I think he is 90 years old. It’s live.”

“I’m watching,” I type back.

The Price is Right and Star Trek bookended our childhood summer days. After “the showcase showdown,” our mother shooed us outdoors until dinner. In the evenings, we tuned in to go “boldly” with the Enterprise crew “where no man had gone before.” As the theme song played, we touched the screen to predict which dot of light would transform into the starship zooming across the galaxy and then competed to name the episode in the first seconds. I left home for college when he started high school. Since then, we’ve existed in different orbits, beaming in occasionally.

As we exchange texts, not the Enterprise, but the rumbling engines of New Shepard fire, lifting it off the launch pad. The denim sky turns black as the spacecraft crosses the Kármán Line, the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. The crew unharness, float, and flip in weightlessness. Parachutes open, and the capsule holding Captain Kirk plummets to the Texas desert. Real-life and fantasy collide. Our sibling continuum of shared space and time leaps forth, pulling us back to yearn for what once was.

Wendy A. Miller enjoys the outdoors and time with family and friends. She lives in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Her short stories are featured on 6-Minute Stories podcast. Other work has been published in Sweet Tree Review, Grown and Flown, and more. wendyamiller.com

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