I’m flying home today.
I hate airports. They stress me out so much that I have trouble holding on to my luggage and boarding passes because I’m shaking so badly. I think I concerned my friend who came to the airport with me. I shake, and I’m stressed, and I get on the plane and I’m still stressed, and they tell us what to do if there is some sort of disaster and I’m really stressed.
Then we take off.
There is always a moment of complete and total terror when we take off, because we’re not on the ground anymore but there’s no way we can get high enough in time to not crash. Airplanes are huge. They should not be able to get so high. And it seems like we get just high enough and then there’s this sudden feeling in the pit of my stomach and I’m sure we’re falling.
But we don’t fall.
Somehow, by some miracle, we continue to rise and the world falls away beneath us and we no longer see trees and lakes and houses, but meandering lines bisecting gold and green and brown and black, and it’s strange and beautiful and terrifying and familiar all at once. Then we hit the clouds.
I have never flown on a completely clear day. There is always a cloud cover that we have to fly through, and I think that has colored my perceptions. Because I look down and see the world growing smaller and yet bigger, and I see the curve of the horizon, and then–
White. At first it’s just hazy, and then it grows brighter and brighter until it’s almost blinding and I wonder if this is what Heaven is like, this unbearable blaze of glory on every side that is inescapable. Then we’re out.
There is no gradual change; we do not begin leaving the cloud; we are in the cloud, and then we’re over it, and there’s billows and columns and that shape shouldn’t even be able to exist! It should fall over!
At this point, I realize that I forgot to watch for my ears and they are about to pop. Pause for a few seconds of excruciating pain.
Following my excruciating pain, the pilot announces the altitude and tells us what the flight will be like. Strangely enough, most of mine have been ‘turbulent.’
What is turbulent?
Is it that swooping feeling where it seems like we drop for a few seconds before the pilot wrests back control? Is it the wind, strangely gusting over what looks like a calm sea of white? I should probably be more concerned. This is what I always imagined flying was like, though, banks and turns and catching the winds. I find it exhilarating.
Then the stewardesses come and offer us drinks.
I always drink ginger ale when flying. I enjoy ginger ale normally, but at altitudes of five digit length, it acquires an almost magical quality. The golden liquid sparkles and snaps, and calls to mind winters and mead and festivity. I feel as if I were a Valkyrie, and the urge to begin singing to my fellow passengers about destruction and battles is overwhelming.
I just realized I’m humming, and I think it disturbs the man next to me. Note to self: do better at restraint next time.
We’re flying through clouds again. The swooping feeling of turbulence is more marked when I have no visuals to which I might orient myself. I’m sitting next to the wing, and there seems to be clearness following it, but the change follows the aircraft so that’s not helpful.
Ah! We just left the clouds. Looking back, they look like puffs of cotton candy that are melting in the sun. I wonder if we left the clouds, or if they just melted enough that we could get free?
We are stopping so I can switch flights. To be continued.