It’s 10:00 am. This Sunday Morning. I’m in the car heading to LaGuardia to catch AA 1082, departing at noon.
Saturday was my Sunday. Sunday is my Monday.
I’m a flight and a half away from 2,000,000 miles, and that’s just on American Airlines. I’ve been around the earth 80 times. 80 times. Years of chasing Status, frequent flier status and upgrades. As Kalanithi explains, ‘a chasing after wind, indeed.’ How many Sunday nights in a hotel room, sitting on the bed in front of the TV, eating alone?
The Boeing twin jet 737-800 taxis to its final turn, pauses, inhales to gather a head of steam, and then Roars down the runway. I close my eyes and feel. Thrust. Power. Acceleration. Wheels rumbling down the tarmac. Faster. Faster. Faster. And then — calm, and lift off — the Iron Bird is up. Wings tilt sharply left, and I lean. We surge upward, higher, the nose pointed to the heavens. The weight of the climb, a soft hand on the chest, the back, a magnet affixed firmly to the door of the refrigerator. A sacred message as you head Up. Sit, wait, pause, be still.
I press the recline button and ease the seat gently backward.
The kids, no, now young adults, were both sleeping when I left the house this morning. They were up late last night, increasingly leading separate lives. Dad, clutching on a string. Oh, go ahead, wake them up, or at least give them a kiss on the cheek before you go. I linger in front of Eric’s door, and then Rachel’s door. For some reason, I can’t bring myself to wake them. I walk down the stairs and out the door. I settle in the car. Inhale. Melancholia, campfire smoke in my lungs.
I slip my earbuds in. My eye lids are heavy. I’m drifting in and out. The plane has leveled off. [Read more…]