Jerry knocked on the driver's side window. "You are missing it; this has gone far enough." He realized now that her theatrics were not born of jealousy but of spite; he was deeply offended that she did not wish to share with him an experience which she knew meant more to him than anything else in his life. She not only did not want to share the experience with him, but she was actively trying to ruin his enjoyment of the greatest spectacle of the twentieth century. This was the crowning achievement of America, yes, but more than that it was the peak of all humanist scientific endeavor. The plaque they would leave on the moon in the shadow of the American flag planted by Aldrin attested to this: "We came in peace for all mankind..." Her refusal to share his excitement was a calculated slight against him and all he stood for.
"You have gone too far." He motioned to her to roll down the window but they were electric. She lunged for the latch, his door heaved open and her water broke. I traced that strange tideline on rainy-morning rides to school, sensing the reproach darting out of the corner of Jerry's eye. When I think of him it is always in profile.
He did not panic. He actually felt somewhat relieved that he had been wrong in ascribing such base motives to my mother's behavior. There was no need to panic now, the only thing more natural and simple than giving birth was dying. If anything made him upset it was that his American dreamboat was ruined. He ran back inside for the keys, which he could not find. He remained calm, mentally retracing his steps as he watched Aldrin join Armstrong on the surface of the moon. Aldrin joked about not locking the door behind himself on the way out. Jerry thought it was wonderful how the American cosmonaut could joke at such a moment.
Though Armstrong had been the first, it was Aldrin who would become the icon of America on the moon because it was Armstrong who took all the pictures. But the face behind the anonymous gold facescreen didn't matter. The astronauts were military men and didn't consider themselves heroes, or even individuals. Schucks, they were just following orders.
Jerry found the keys in his pocket, downed another celebratory shot and walked briskly outside.