When I was seven years old, my brother and I began playing “Space Ship Adventures.” He had these two awesome giant picture books for kids, published by National Geographic. Sitting on the end of his bed, co-pilot and pilot, we diligently cross-checked our supplies: Landing craft? Check. Translator machine? Check. Stun gun? Check. Food? Check. We gathered our supplies and imaginations, climbed aboard his bed with our stuffed animals cheering us heroes on. We dared to discover the next frontier. Occasionally, a rogue GI Joe, Barbie or Bear would try and stowaway. We donned our helmets. Readied for lift off, my brother counted off launch sequences. Bumping, jostling, shaking and shimmying, we simulated G-forces. Leaning backwards as far as we could, we dared one another not to fall over, plastering our cheeks back as flat as we could. Reaching stabilization, my brother cracked open the book, pages randomly flopping open as I peered over his shoulder. Paraguay! Saturn! Antarctica! The Milky Way! The Milky Way found us floating on tip toes all around his bedroom, string tied around our waists. My brother’s fingers extending fully, found my lower back, pushing me off trajectory…slowly… I spun, colliding with an asteroid blazing by, somehow nudging me into self-correcting my course… peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches finding flight, sabotaged from cargo holding… eyes bulging, trying to make it back to the shuttle before our oxygen lines got chopped off… bay doors clamping close by a rogue Barbie cackling at the controls, revenge for the botched haircut I’d given her. On Saturn we used our landing craft constructed of Froggy, the child-sized carnival prize, her green fuzziness draped over the length of my brother’s canary-yellow skateboard. She multi-tasked as our hover craft, inflatable boat, and moon walker. Froggy, valiantly hard won by my brother up in Scarborough, was used to calm me down after the Colossal Haunted Castle Meltdown of 1982. Her solid padding perfectly held us aloft the skateboard as we Fred Flintstoned our feet up and down the hallway in our second apartment. A year later, we moved to the rented townhouse where she buffered our butts as we slid down staircases, catapulting into the living room. Careening around avalanches, sluicing through waterfalls, and dodging endless meteor showers, Froggy was ever present on countless sibling adventures.
© March 2019, Isabel Alvear