Monday 20 June 2022

'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.' by Asha Krishna

Aldrin was watching the night news splash the TV footage while announcing an elderly Armstrong’s death. It was not a small step though. It had defined Aldrin’s entire life. At every public appearance, he was introduced as the second man to walk on moon. Even after all these years, it grated on him.

He knew he was not easy to be with, his ex-wives would vouch for that. But back then, his attitude had almost cost him a place on the mission. It was his crew commander, Armstrong who refused to let him go after all the training they had been through. Looking at his boss’s face on TV, he realised he never understood this man who he’d called his friend in public for so many years.

How could you not share your life-transforming experience with the nation?

Unlike a reclusive Armstrong, Aldrin was always eager to share his stories with the public. But he always stumbled when he came to the bit about the engine switch that snapped, jeopardising their homeward journey.

Only the two of them knew what exactly happened on board. Aldrin knew his version would sound hollow. After all, Armstrong’s was the face and voice that sculpted history.

If only he had been allowed to step out first…

It had been more than four decades since they’d first made the landing. Now, Aldrin could tell the story the way he wanted. 

The phone rang just as the news ended and he hoisted himself off the sofa with purpose.

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