A fictionalized look at the life of an astronaut wife in the days of Apollo

Book Excerpt

She stared across the lagoon at the elegant white spacecraft as it exhaled vaporous clouds of liquid. She found it difficult to believe this time it wasn’t a friend strapped to a couch on top of that thirty-six-story rocketry steeple and that three  thousand tons of fuel would be exploded beneath her husband.

Keeper Of The Flame - Cover Art

She felt herself disengaging—only vaguely aware of her surroundings yet watching from somewhere outside her body.  Carolyn took a stand next to her with the twins in front.  Chris stood to the side with his Hasselblad focused on the spacecraft.  John and Annie stood supportively behind her, John’s hands firmly gripping her shoulders.  In spite of the proximity of her children and her friends, she felt alone, diminished by the towering rocket and shaken by her pounding heart.  The voice from the speakers boomed.  “T minus two minutes and counting.  The onboard computers have taken control of the launch sequence and voice checks are complete.”

A tremor of apprehension rattled through her body.  She didn’t want them to go.  She needed to talk to him.  There were things they needed to say; she pressed her fingers to her mouth.

“T minus 45 seconds and counting. All stages are go at T minus 20 seconds.”  The voice counted in a lifeless monotone and echoed in her head.  “Look for ignition at T minus 2.1 seconds. 10…9…8…”

Her heartbeat raced the countdown to liftoff.  The spacecraft made its first faltering move toward the void of space.  It roared.  Crackled.  Rumbled.  Her legs felt rubbery. Corky slipped an arm around her waist and gripped her firmly.

“Oh, God! Oh, Evan!” Her palms pressed against the top of her head as if to keep her grounded. She watched the flames from the great thrusters fade.  The spacecraft shrunk to a speck and disappeared.  In the breathless silence that followed, she continued to peer upward as if her vision could penetrate the atmosphere and follow the crew to their destination.  But they were gone.  There was nothing to validate the existence of Evan Davis except a single vapor cloud marking the vast blue sky like an exclamation point and Evan’s shaken family huddled together on the ground far below.