Chasing Rainbows

As the sheeting November rain fell from a dreary Moscow sky, Natascha polished her spectacles and scrutinized the newly-unveiled memorial. "Finally, after four decades," she murmured, "tribute is paid."

"Natascha," whispered a voice. She didn't have to turn around to know who was speaking.

"Viktor! How long has it been?"

She took his hand. It trembled uncontrollably, not from joy at their meeting, but from the palsy plaguing his golden years. "Too long, Natascha. I was hoping to see you today...that you would also feel the desire to come."

"I was the first she trusted," said Natascha, smiling wistfully. "I taught her what she needed to learn."

Viktor kissed Natascha's wrinkled cheek. "And she was utterly devoted to you."

Natascha smoothed her silver-streaked hair, once the color of summer wheat. "If that's intended to comfort...."

Viktor shook his head. "It doesn't, I know."

"Were we chasing rainbows, Viktor?" she asked sadly. "Ultimately, the shining accomplishments went elsewhere."

"I must believe she didn't die in vain," insisted Viktor. Natascha agreed.

"Some maintain she burned alive as the heat shields disintegrated." Natascha gripped Viktor's arm. "I think she simply went peacefully to sleep when her air ran out. Don't you?"

He understood the necessity for confirmation. "Most assuredly!"

With Viktor's help, Natascha wiped away the raindrops trickling down the plaque dedicated to the first living creature in space. She sighed. Right or wrong, they had sent up little Laika knowing they could never bring her back.

She had been a good dog.

Link to Rainbow Bridge Laika Memorial

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