Eliza’s eyes grew wide at the world. The space around her was light and airy, she floated up and around the little room in the aircraft. Her face was soft, cheeks glowing and red. Her lips were thin and moist, but no breath escaped them.
For a moment everything was silent in the little white room with no windows. The baby floated higher. Everyone stood about the little child in a dome below her, waiting. Eliza’s mother had sat up, was staring almost angrily at her baby. Her eyes wanted to command the child to breathe.
And then a cry rang out. Bubbling from Eliza’s mouth a shrill, joyous cry that echoed throughout the tiny room and into the ears of her family, the astronauts, the doctors. Everyone had been waiting for this moment, and it had come. In only a moment, the scarily silent room became abuzz with laughter, crying, shouts, and whoops. Eliza’s mother silently sobbed in a corner, watching in wonder as her beautiful baby girl bounced around the room, crying gleefully.
Then it was time to take Eliza out of the room she was born in, to show her a world much bigger than the one she already knew. A universe.
Carried in the arms of her mother, Eliza was led to an enormous window at the front of the aircraft.
“Look, Eliza,” her mother said. “This is my world. And now it is yours.”
Eliza cried again. But through her glassy tears, Eliza could see the world. She saw the dark sky with smudged stripes of purple and pink. She saw the sun’s bright rays and the moon’s pale, mysterious reflections. She saw the planets, which she would one day explore. And the infinite stars were reflected in her wide, elliptical eyes.
Eliza slept in her cradle. A large paperweight held her blanket down and she snuggled into it. Eliza’s mother watched her newborn with sunken, hollowed out eyes.
“You should get rest, your girl isn’t going anywhere.” The doctor gave an encouraging smile.
“She won’t go anywhere, but I’m already gone. We’re years away from Earth; you know I won’t make it.”
“We don’t know that. I’m not making any predictions yet. Hold on for your baby, for the future of space science. You’re making history!” the doctor insisted.
Eliza’s mother smiled sadly and lay down on the floor next to her baby’s cradle. Her skeleton curved around the walls of the little cage. She cried. Her tears all gathered in the deep circles under her eyes. Bubbles of the salty liquid floated off of her face and made it looked like the walls were crying, too. Her face was a waterfall that didn’t flow. She was a broken woman.
And they had made history. Even if both Eliza and her mother died, the first baby had been born in space.