My name is Beth Smith, and I am 25. I have a dream, a strong one: I want to travel in space. But the problem is, I have no money. I subscribed to a lottery last year, and twice a week my name could be drawn from among millions. Crazy dream. Almost no chance to win.But some have. So why not me? And here I am, with this letter in my hand. When you are a long term subscriber, you are officially notified with a certificate when you win. A paper one. Like in old times. If you are not a winner, you are just notified by email, and good luck finding a printer these days. And what about paper and ink?
You can decide this paper thing is not that important; but think about it: you are going to live an extraordinary experience and this paper, this precious paper is the first thing you will be able to show to your friends and family. Are you just going to show them the screen on your mobile? How ordinary would that be. Just like a common picture. And it is not something common. Paper! That’s the thing. I am not very fond of old stuff, but paper is so smart. And if you ask for it, they offer you a wooden frame. Sure, I will take that, thank you. I am so excited. I have not opened the letter yet. I turn it over and again in my fingers. I put the envelope up to the daylight. Something colored is inside. I look through the window down at the crowd of people outside. The huge city is alive. And so am I. And my life is about to change. Fundamentally.
The envelope is now open. YOU WON, in gold letters. Logo of the world lottery at the top left corner. And the description of what I won: 12 space travels. One per month, beginning whenever I want next year. One training session to schedule before the first trip. And a telephone number. A free one.
The dream is now real. I will travel. Like rich people do. Not to another earthly place but somewhere in space, because I will be able to. Because that’s the point: the destination depends on your ability to travel. I smile at the old idea of spaceships. Oh I love those stories, you know. But bodies can’t travel that far. They can’t reach the stars. Minds can. How do you feel being an invisible witness? An inquiring spirit? A nosy one? Snoopers. That’s what they call the space travellers. There is something weird in not being seen. But it is much better than seeing nothing at all, in your whole life. Stuck on Earth. When there is so much to discover out there. One year. One year of feast. One year of wonder. One year of fairytales. YES YES YES YES YES! I shout and dance. I almost pass out. I sit down, shut my eyes, try to imagine. I stay there motionless, my head full of happiness. I smile.