Fly Away

November 18, 2010
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I’m a small town girl who never really gets away, away from the drama and pain, away from everything. I’m not typically the type of girl that runs away from her problems, let alone run away from anything. I am strong and independent; I can handle whatever life throws at me. But I have never been away from this town I called, “home.” I just have never got the chance, I had the money, and I had a car. I just never got away from work and family. Plus I didn’t think it would solve anything.

That’s why I left. I didn’t want to feel like I was giving up, or running away, so I just convinced myself that there wasn’t anything to run away from; I told myself I didn’t have any friends, just family, and they would hardly notice my absence. Everything would be fine. I would be back in two or three weeks, back to my old, problematic life.



I went online and looked up some cheap plane tickets, and bought a round trip from Des Moines, Iowa to some city in China; I have never been out of my state before, let alone on the other side of the world, but I was finally leaving, although in the back of my mind I wouldn’t be totally gone. I was finally getting away, but still coming back.

Two weeks later, I was on a gray leather chair, drinking a small glass of Andre champagne, starring blankly out the window at the thin layer of clouds floating below us, looking at the quaint little houses resting on the steady earth and the birds flying far below us, carelessly.

Hours passed, until the pilot finally was announcing our safe arrival in this huge unknown city of Beijing. I opened my eyes, forcing myself awake. I was starting to get nervous. Being in a city on the other side of the world, can definitely give your stomach a quick turn.

Tapping my black Nike shoe against the cheaply carpeted floor, I glanced at my shiny, silver watch; it was 11:26am. It was taking forever for everyone to get off this plane! Several minutes passed…until finally, I was off. I glanced at my watch again thinking it took ten to fifteen minutes for the plane to completely unload; it just turned 11:32am.

“Wow. Maybe I could work on my patience,” I breathed to myself so no one in a three foot radius could hear.




Spotting my small, grey, suitcase on the big, rotating circle didn’t take more than a couple minutes. But I was just watching it go around and around, so I had time to figure out where I was going to go next.

I came to the conclusion that I would take a taxi cab, to the closest hotel and stay there for now; the future can work itself out.




The sidewalks were overly crowded; like walking through a thick forest; you can’t move without getting wacked in the face. I gently pushed my way back through the heard of foreign people, trying to see the streets.

There I stood, facing this huge city, I couldn’t believe it. The noise was ten times the amount I was used to in Des Moines; which is nothing, except for the big John Deer tractors chugging down the roads that are shared with only the deer wandering aimlessly across it, and the wind racing through the miles of pastures. But here there were no more than three feet between the vehicles driving down the highway. The sidewalks couldn’t even hold all of the people walking on it.

Considering the amount of vehicles on the streets it wasn’t hard to call a taxi over to pick me up; something I’ve only seen in movies.

The taxi cab wasn’t the usual yellow; it was a dull, dark green. The interior was all leather. The smell reminded me of when my mom would clean the house spotless, leaving a clean scent in the air.

“Where you go?” The foreign driver questioned in a weird accent, as the engine came to life with a quiet roar.

I paused for a couple seconds before I answered, “Hotel?” Not sure if he would understand, or ask me which one, because I would not have the answer to his question.

Luckily he didn’t. He drove me to a big, hotel a few miles from the airport. I thanked him and handed him a $20.00 bill. He hesitated before he grabbed it; I forgot to exchange money for Chinese money. At first, I didn’t think he would take it, but to my surprise he did. I nodded my head and thanked him again.

The hotel was five stories tall, and looked expensive. I gradually walked to the front desk, to find out what the nightly rates were; it was $180.00 per night plus a $20.00 damage fee upfront, which is refunded if no damage is done. I thought that was pretty cheap, for the looks of this place, so I went for it.




I stayed there in a one bedroom, full kitchen, with a balcony over looking the busy city, for two weeks, when I finally decided it was time to head home.

I took a taxi back to the airport, and got through all the security at 12:30pm; I board my plane at 12:45pm. As I look around and see all the greasy, fast food places, I notice my stomach rumble. I walk past McDonalds. Yum… I think to myself. I haven’t eaten there in almost a year. I stop as I reached my decision that, that’s where I would eat. I walked to the back of the line of about ten people; old, young, short, fat, all waiting to scarf down their high calorie meals. As I approached the front of the line, my eyes found the bright menu. I read through the burgers, until I found a fresh, grilled chicken salad.

“How may I help you, miss?” The tall, dark man behind the counter asked. I studied him for a long second. Crew cut, black hair, and deep, brown eyes. He stared at me, and smiled showing his perfectly white teeth.

“Could I get a Grilled Chicken Salad please?” I said after I thought through every word in my head.

“Of course, anything to drink for you today?” he questioned, while punching buttons on the old cash register.

While pulling out my wallet, “Uhm... Yeah sure, Diet Dr. Pepper, please.”

“Alright, $5.58 is your total.”

I handed him a ten, and he gave me my change and a receipt. I walk to the side of the counter, getting out of the way of the accumulated people behind me. A few minutes pass by, when the same guy calls out, “567”

I glance at the white, receipt with the black, bold numbers, 5-6-7. I pick my food up thanking the guy, and sit down to eat.

Slowly squeezing the packet of Hidden Valley Ranch- making sure I got just the right amount- on to my salad, I begin to feed my hungry stomach.

It took me about fifteen minutes to eat my food. I glanced at the time, 8:27am; I had three minutes to get back to the gate of my plane.

As I ran through the crowds of people I heard a calm, female voice on the intercom just ahead of me.

“Boarding flight 65, flight 65 boarding.”

As the voice stopped I was there, throwing my luggage over my shoulder; ready to go home.

As I stepped onto the plane, I saw the usual rows of gray, leather chairs, and the aroma of people and a slight scent of food. I continued to row “F” and sat down. Within fifteen minutes I was in the air on my way back home.




Staring out the window, watching the birds fly away from the plane, when all of the sudden the pilot came over the intercom, his booming voice sounding worried. He is speaking quickly. I couldn’t concentrate on his voice anymore; people’s faces were scared and some confused. They couldn’t sit still, what was going on? The passengers were all attempting to glance out of their windows, tilting their heads until they could get a glance at whatever was in front of us. Then when they did, gasps broke out all over the plane. I was the only one just sitting there in my seat, not knowing what was going on. Whatever they saw, I didn’t think it was that important. I didn’t think it mattered; just like everything else in my life. But I was starting to get nervous.

I didn’t move until the plane was fiercely unsteady, that’s when I got to my feet to look out the window closest to me, with one glance I understood what was happening.

The sky was dark, and unwelcoming. The birds were no longer in sight. Something huge and strong was coming our way and there wasn’t anyway to stop it. Our pilot came over the intercom again, saying in a shaky voice that there was a tornado heading straight for us. Then the plane took one sharp turn, a minute too late, jerking all the passengers around; we were trying to get out of its path of death. It was our only chance to live… but our chances ran out.

All I remember was the plane being extremely unstable, pressure building up in my head, and blackness surrounding my body, as my family flashed through my mind. I wanted to see their faces, I needed to say something to them, “I love you… Goodbye.”

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

court1992 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm

good job...but Des Moines is actually a pretty big city. Between it and its suburbs it has about 1 million people...and tractors dont drive down the street lol.

crazy ending! i liked it :)

AnimalGirl replied...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm
acctually, you can drive your tractors down the street... jsyk
plumes replied...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 10:29 pm
Yes, You sure can drive your tractors down the road:) And yes it is a kinda big citY, but it's still very urban. Thank you
Louie2_16 replied...
Dec. 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm
Okay... So tractors do drive down the road, because I've done it...
MountainPoet said...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

VERY Good! Extremely realistic and understandable. I enjoyed reading it greatly. The ending was sad for sure, but unexpected and well done.

Keep it up!

-Mountain Poet

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