I’m in 7th grade and I already like science so I’m really excited about this trip to the Boston Museum of Science! It’s a sleep-over thing and we’re missing two whole days of school for it and it’s just the girls - isn’t that cool?
Mom used a sharpie to write our last name on the LL Bean tote bag that I’m using to bring all my stuff. I’m not bringing my panda bear - I’m in 7th grade, come on! And we’re not even taking a regular school bus, we’re taking one of those nice busses with the grey seats and the rainbow print down the middle of the seats, you know those? And Marlene Stewart is sitting across from me and she let me borrow her Walkman to listen to that one INXS song.
And the drive took forever but finally we’re here and now we’re walking down this really long hallway, it feels like one of those behind the scenes hallways, I can tell because there aren’t any advertisements on the wall, it’s just a long long long hallway and I’m starting to wonder if we’re going the wrong way but now I see it up ahead, there’s a door that’s opening up and I’m walking faster now - jeez this bag is heavy - and now we’re here!
We’re inside the Museum of Science! There’s a big round desk in the middle and a really high ceiling and a huge moving sculpture in front of a big window, and it’s really echoey in here but it’s not loud because it’s just us, just one hundred girls and our stuff, and they just closed the museum.
We’re here after the museum is closed! Isn’t that special? I still don’t understand where we’re all going to sleep. But now someone is putting my stuff on a rollaway cart and Mr. Bernard is talking blah blah blah, but now he’s waving his hands out in front of him, like, “Shoo! Go on!” And that’s it!
Where do I go? The planetarium! The electricity room! The wing with the animals in it. It’s getting late I think but I’m not tired or hungry, there’s just so much to see!
What’s this room, Mathematics? There’s a weird loopy train track floating above the room and the train is shaped like a red arrow. There’s a button underneath a sign, “Mobius Strip”. Ok. Wait - WHAT? That doesn’t make any sense, I need to watch that again! Marlene, look at this!
Oh, what’s that? It just looks like a map of the world, I don’t get it. With a little red light on every country. Oh, wait, I see buttons down here. “Birth rate.” Holy smokes - does that mean every time a light flashes, someone is born?
And what’s this one? “Death rate.” So… every time a light flashes, someone out there… dies?
Why are there some countries with lights that are flashing so fast? What’s that all about? Does that mean that there are babies out there who never get a chance… never grow up… never…
I’ll be one of these flashing lights one day.
Is that all I am? Just a flash?
Sarah Elovich is a writer and performer based in Oakland, CA.