“It’s not exactly rocket science,” she says. But it is rocket science. It is me sit- ting in the living room surrounded by the aluminum sheets that will eventually be the fuselage. It is the boxes of wiring and the drums of fuel. It is a screwdriver welded to the kitchen table and the stacks of circuit boards and switches next to the kettle.
Her condescension is choking. It fills the atmosphere like the thick and putrid smoke that rolls across the ceiling every time I fire up the engines. She mocks and she whistles. She tuts and murmurs and sighs but then she fixes it all by bringing me coffee with a bourbon. She fluffs my pillow before I fall exhausted into bed. She cooks bolognaise and leaves out the carrots. She offers to help with the circuitry.
In a simpler time we were newlyweds. We stood naked on a balcony beneath the strange sky of a foreign place. We held clammy hands and let the wind lap gently at the tangled ends of our hair. We built the future and mapped out our universe in the dark. I asked her where she envisioned us living and she whispered her answer.
The moon sat round and full above us.
Now I am a rocket scientist and slowly the thing in the garden is beginning to take shape.
On a quiet night in late summer we will tip toe across the patio. We will be naked again. We will climb the ramp that leads to the cockpit. The door will close and, after a few seconds of silent countdown, there will be smoke and fire. The pavement will crack, the grass will burn and just possibly, the house will collapse, timber and brick, into the crater we leave.