I took my first ‘big’ flight on Wednesday, outside of Europe, I mean. There were three aisles of seats, TV screens on the back of every seat and free food! It was pure luxury. Though, no matter how many gadgets there were, I was still terrified. The journey was eight hours long, had frequent turbulence and was surrounded by fog. It’s safe to say my excitement was somewhat stifled by fear. Funnily enough, a few days before my flight, I found the beginning of a story about flying that I’d written a couple of years ago. Enjoy!
When the plane set off I was feeling on top of the world – pun intended. The seats were shaking and the passengers were sucking sweets. I was calmly reading a book with not a care in the world, other than what happened in the story, of course. When the plane finally shuddered into a gentle floating movement then the gent next to me lent over and spoke to me with heavy whiskey breath.
“I’ve never seen such a relaxed flyer, you must have more than a few air miles!”
I just smiled and laughed a very polite laugh so as not to strike up the beginning of a two and a half hour conversation – a mistake I had made before. I turned back to my page and then this is when I started thinking about how brave I was.
This journey could be the beginning of the end. I could hurtle to an untimely death at any moment. We could fly into the curls of a hurricane and leave as tiny strands of a person. And yet, here I was, just reading my book, cool as a cucumber. To be quite honest, at this point I wasn’t reading as much as I was thinking about how brave I was. Maybe I wouldn’t be so brave when the oxygen masks were falling from the ceiling and orange jacket clad people were desperately clambering past each other. This was quite a good book though, so I imagine I’d be cool enough to finish reading my sentence and put my bookmark neatly between the pages.
I turned my page and carried on, unaware of what I’d been reading for the last minute or so. I momentarily thought of the probability of how likely it was that we would crash, explode or have a mechanical failure. I gave up adding up made-up numbers quickly and instead remembered someone telling me that you are more likely to have a car crash than a plane crash. I felt better again and reverted to my persona of bravery, safe in the knowledge that I was only likely to head into unknown fictional territory. But, I am brave, none-the-less.