The Flight This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 1, 2009
Recycled air filled the lungs of all aboard the plane. Clinking of keyboards and the occasional cough dominated the noise in the cabin. Sitting quietly, a young boy stared out into the clouds that flew past. His father had told him Virginia would be sunny, something which the boy was interested in experiencing after living in Arizona for a number of years. However, as the plane neared its destination, the cirrus clouds, displaying almost a look of curly wispy hair, claimed otherwise.

Each cloud which passed appeared unique, displaying different shades of white and grey. The cloud’s wisps stringing alongside the aircraft had varying lengths. The short wisps seemed to disperse by the time they reached his window, whereas the long wisps flew past his window, almost seeming able to grab. Though the boy knew there was a window between himself and the clouds, he eagerly set his hand upon the glass, wishing only to be closer to these majestic formations of ice crystals. The window felt cold, seeming to steal the warmth of the boy’s hand. Taken aback, he removed his hand in understanding that he was unable to change the fact there was an impassable obstacle between himself and his desires.

The boy removed himself from the window in an attempt to avoid undergoing the same process again. Instead he looked around the cabin, searching for something of interest without the same disappointment as the clouds and the window gave him. He gently leaned his seat back in hopes of not startling the passenger behind him. The flight was quiet; those who were not asleep were preoccupied with activities requiring no amount of loud noise. The boy turned to his side and glanced at his sleeping mother, and lightly tapped her shoulder with his index finger. He paused, waiting for her to blink her eyes and awake. He tapped again, pausing for a second time and waited for his mother to awake. Curiosity and excitement got the best of the boy. He squeezed her shoulder and tried whispering “mom” into her ear just loud enough for her to hear.
Suddenly she sat erect, and to his surprise, she smiled a light grin; not something the boy expected after waking his mother without her consent. She laid her hand upon his head and ruffled his light brown hair.

“How long until we arrive in Virginia?” the boy questioned his mother, anxious to stretch and run around in this new place. She looked down at her watch, trying to calculate how long they had been on the plane and the expected arrival time in Virginia. Before she had the chance to respond a soft voice came through the loudspeaker.

“The plane is expected to land in fifteen minutes. Please turn off all electronic devices and place your seats straight up; make sure your tray is up and locked in its original position.” The mother looked down upon her child as if to say, “There’s your answer.” He gave a sudden laugh to indicate he understood her look.
The cabin was suddenly filled with life: all those who were sleeping emerged from their unconsciousness, and those that were not asleep were now antsy and unable to occupy themselves as they had throughout the whole flight. The boy jumped in his seat and turned towards the window. He halted before proceeding to open it, weighting whether facing the impassible obstacle was worth it again. He slid open his window cover and peered down to see an enormous city, which could have been the size of New York for all he knew. All of it was so different from the desert of Arizona. Suddenly trees began to show. The luscious green trees overcame the boy’s view, and the thousands of trees stood strong.

Then there were buildings which seemed to be as tall as mountains. Even from his perspective the boy admired and knew the buildings were magnificent in size. Cars below on the freeways resembled the size of his hot wheels. The people below were small, like ants. Those below took no notice of a plane flying above. It was just a plane, and hundreds flew in and out daily. Not everyone aboard these planes was here in Virginia to stay, but that wasn’t the case for this boy and his mother.

“We are almost there Chris,” the mother spoke to her son displaying a weak smile, for she was nervous about what to expect from this new land, so unlike the place they referred to as “home”.

The boy could see the airport below. It was surrounded by luscious green trees and a calm blue river. The plane slowly descended onto the runway below and landed quickly. The boy looked out his window into an already dark sky at only five P.M. It was not sunny as had been predicted for the landing. Instead, the dark sky hovered over wet streets, drizzling enough to fill an unsettled mood for the boy.

“This is my home?” the boy questioned himself quietly. He enjoyed the green and the high rises and the calm river that awaited him outside, but he never thought that this would be his “home.”

“Welcome to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The local time is ten after five here on the East Coast. Hope you all have a nice stay and be sure to use America West Airlines again.” Once again, the voice from above answered the boy’s question. The captain’s voice and words settled bluntly in the head of the mom and son. The mother, equally shaken up that this place was “home” took her son’s hand. With his one free hand, the boy placed it upon the window glass, still cold, so cold.

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