Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Up, Up and Away...II

I haven't always been this freakishly scared of flight. Time was, it wasn't a bother at all.

Then, one flight about 10 years ago changed all that.

My sister was in film school in Tallahassee, Florida and every so often I'd make a sojourn down to see her. (I don't recall the exact circumstances of this visit. Perhaps it was her graduation.) On the second leg of the journey, the Puddle-Jumper I was riding flew through a fluke electrical storm.

The plane dove, righted itself. Dove again. 90 degree angles. Outside a sea of greenish black clouds churned. Electricity shocked the wings. The fingers of God cracked open the sky like a pistachio nut.

A woman in back shrieked. The girl next to me was a braver stripe. She cried silent tears as the flight attendant, crouched, juddering, gripped her hand. This is it. This is when my string is cut. stopped. The skies cleared and we made our descent.

Everyone shook hands with the pilots on their way out.


On the plane, the flight attendant is a no frills, officious sort, which I like. She barks out our safety orders and then goes through a wry, weary spiel regarding flushing the toilet when one is finished.

We wait.

I hear every click and whir in the plane. We move forward.

Bing Bong. We've been cleared for take off.

My heart beats so fast. I can't run. There's no where to go.
I cannot reverse this.
Go faster.
Hands shake.
Eyes drown in tears.
Pick up speed.
I breathe hard and deep.
I try to hide my face away from the man next to me. He can't see I'm afraid.
The plane tilts back.
My eyes won't close. I have to watch the ground.
My lips mumble the prayer I MUST SAY EVERY TIME.
In seconds, the world miniaturizes.
Perfect, sculpted dollhouses below and ant train traffic. The suburbs look like the Aveoli inside the lungs, winding cilia of cul-de-sacs and gated communities.
The plane turns.
Turbulence shakes the plane. I grip the armrest.
Higher still,
into the marigold sky.

Listening to: "Love Lockdown", Kanye West

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