Flying

I was a little kid

the night before the first time

I was to board a plane.

I asked my mom

to describe what it felt like to fly.

 

Airports used to be safe spaces for me.

Maybe it was the extra-long security lines

and metal detectors

that gave me the sense

that no harm could come to me here.

Airports are the gateway to the world,

in a completely nonfigurative way.

Everywhere I could think of going

had an actual gateway

leading to a plane

that led to that place.

I loved taking one step on in LA

and getting to step off in Seattle.

(Lately, I haven’t thought of flying

as off to a new adventure

because I’m traveling more often out of need,

and if planes aren’t vehicles

bringing me to an exciting new adventure,

then airports are only well-gaurded buildings

serving overpriced coffee

and more overpriced beer.)

 

My mom wasn’t able to describe flying to me,

that night before my first flight.

She said, “I guess you’ll find out tomorrow.”

I suppose she couldn’t bring herself to tell me

that flying doesn’t feel like the magical feat it actually is.

Flying just feels like

any kind of man-made transportation

except, this time, there is no road

or railway

or attachment to Earth.

Wouldn’t it be surprising to find

that any fatal car accidents

happen when the vehicle is trying to park?

 

I never had a fear of flying.

Take-off nor turbulence have ever bothered me.

I still wouldn’t say I get scared.

Actually, I would choose flying

over any other kind of travel.

There’s the obvious advantage,

the convenience of not having to ride

on a boat for months

to maybe make it across the ocean,

and the fact that getting from LA to Seattle

only takes a couple of hours.

I would even go so far as to say

I love flying

for making the world feel accessible.

(I still don’t love overpriced airport beverages).

 

For some reason I can’t quite comprehend,

I’ve been noticing a new apprehension.

Just at the point where I should be thinking

“At last, we’ve finally made it”

It seems that instead I’ll find

 I’m always a little more afraid to land.

-EKJ

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