Chicago, you disappoint me.
We descended below the cloudline to depressing grayness and uniformity. Upon landing, I entered a dismally grey, crowded gate and sat down for my three-hour layover. I was wearing a long broomstick skirt that evidently engendered trustworthiness, because three separate people asked me to guard their bags while they went off to drown the greyness in action somewhere. Happily, I had supplied myself with reading material, so I dove into other worlds to distance myself from the tired faces and unrelenting dullness of the airport. (Note to self: review The Daughter of Time at some point.)
I finally escaped the gloom of Chicago Midway to the airplane. Unfortunately, this time I received an aisle seat so I could not stare out the window. I did not particularly care at this point. Anything to get me out of Chicago. (Note to people from Chicago[what do you guys call yourselves, anyway?]: There may be redemption in your city. Unfortunately, it is not located in your airports. I am sorry if I was unimpressed. It wasn’t very impressive.)
My seatmates fell asleep before the plane even took off. How does one sleep through the terror and excitement that is taking off? Anyway, after several ‘close calls’ that were probably entirely safe, we ascended through the clouds and back into the beautiful, light-filled firmament. It was as if Chicago and its dullness simply evaporated. This time, however, there were more clouds. We traveled through an impenetrable grey murk, cool and dark and safe. There was no horizon, and there was no playground of shapes beneath us. So, instead of watching the glory of creation, I listened.
Behind me was a family. Husband and wife and baby girl, they quietly chattered to their small treasure. For once, the baby was quiet. She burbled happily to herself throughout almost the entire flight.
To my left sat two people who appeared to have not known each other before the flight. The man spoke about working in an orphanage, and what sounded like missions work. The girl talked about politics. I’m not sure how they wove the conversations together, but they did. They made me smile.
A few rows ahead, an older gentlemen occasionally snored. His cowboy boots stuck out in the aisle. The boots made me think of home.
About half an hour before we landed, I became restless. The clouds began to disintegrate, and I could see Texas below me! I’m sure my jittery excitement must have disturbed some of my fellow passengers. Perhaps not. Who cared? I was almost home. I watched the familiar roadways grow closer, and as counted the seconds ’til we touched ground. I disembarked into the muggy warmth that is the hallmark of my home, and met my mother, almost eight hours after I took off for the first time.