“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. If you haven’t already done so, please stow your carry-on luggage underneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin. Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt. And also make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright position.”
Jet airliners get in line. Biding their time to ride the blue sky. All these souls crammed into all these vessels, nestled closely together, a hive of hundreds of humans. Our destinations sit softly in our hive hearts and minds. Business folk silently sit and rub shoulders with chatting children, excited vacationers and commuting workers all herded together in this pill shaped vessel with birds wings. As the engines start to scream and this machine takes flight, we hold on with all our might and pray to the God of our choice that this inhuman act of flying the friendly skies is a safe one.
“Flight attendants, prepare for take-off please.”
(Watching the ground sink slowly beneath my wing side seat, I seek to find a familiar rooftop or road to remind me I am leaving my hometown for the umpteenth time now. I can feel the strings of attachment once again snapping and my heart strings tearing away as I say a silent farewell to my hometown family and friends. Thanks for the many colorful and meaningful meetings and greetings, till we meet again I will keep you safe in my heart-shaped box of memories.)
A child cries out. A mother soothes and shushes him saying it’ll be alright now. Ears popping as the ground keeps dropping, the details of the housetops and street scenes of morning traffic slip away into a miniature model of sorts. The rivers and lakes and forests and farmlands become nothing more than the patchwork of an earthly quilt as we, on AA Flight 123, become a mere shadow on the ground. We, bound for Big D, are nothing more than a li’l bird flying away, way up in the sky.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned off the Fasten Seat Belt sign, and you may now move around the cabin. However we always recommend to keep your seat belt fastened while you’re seated.”
(I wave goodbye to what I’ve known. I bid adieu to the few down there who will always have a piece of my heart. I silently promise this Midwest heartland that I’ll be back. I pray that I will be blessed to do so once again, sooner than later.)
We, the passengers of flight 123, settle into our rented seats. Some sit back with eyes closed, trying to catch a few winks. Others open up newspapers, magazines, books, laptops, iDevices, and try to forget that we are soaring tens of thousands of feet above our Mother, hurtling thru space at several hundred miles per hour. For this brief 1 hour and 54 minutes of flight time we are a vagabond family of sorts. Should this be our final flight, these souls will be the last ones we will know. We pray that this fact won’t be so.
(As the engines hum settles down and this artificial bird levels out, I do my best to sit back, relax, and remind myself to forget the feeling of nostalgia that’s already threatening to settle in. I close my eyes and await a fitful sleep to wash over me)
“Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened…”
(The wheels touch down in my home-away-from-hometown. And as this flying pill taxis its way towards the gate, I feel that all too familiar numbness once again descend upon me.)