A Journey of Responsibility, Patience, and Resiliency This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Many people have different reasons to travel. As for me, I fancy flying. To me, flying is a fun and efficient way to travel. This summer, I traveled through the skies, in an extremely special way. During this trip, I also had to take care of my little sister by myself, without the watchful eyes of my parents. I had to learn the true lesson of responsibility by looking after a loved one when least I expected it.

I looked down at the black pavement as the winding path slowly came to a sudden end. I was ecstatic to be going somewhere, for once, during summer vacation this. My happiness was uncontrollable; fizzing and bubbling in my heart. I could only imagine what would happen next Suddenly, I could see it against the sky, a towering watchtower at first, glistening and wondrous. The shining silver against the elegant bright, blue sky. I felt as if my heart had jumped to my throat and I couldn’t get it back down.

My happiness was beginning to settle as I entered the steel double doors leading to the main entrance of the airport. A gust of cool wind hit my face, replacing my sweat drenched clothes with the comfortable atmosphere inside. I stepped onto the entrance mat, embroidered with the words JFK Airport. The words were colored with a bright orange; mounted against a velvet background. As I continued my slow stroll, I was breath-taken by the airport’s vast beauty; stainless steel danced across the ceiling as the noon light reflected against the glistening metal. I had always wanted to go to an airport, but I never realized that they were so elaborate and lavish. Intimidated by the vast beauty in the airport, I could barely walk as I intently looked around. My excitement was about to overload in any second. I didn’t even think that I had any chance at leaving in the next two hours.

For the past hour, I had been walking around the food court, dazzled by the people; dissolved in the sights around me. I felt as if I had to grab as much as I could to take with me on the trip. Before I knew it, I heard my mom exclaim, “Come back, it’s time to leave!” I ran over to make sure I hadn’t been hearing my own thoughts. When I got to our table, I could see that my mom was a little hurried, as she hastily stuffed our belongings in one big bag and quickly handed it to me. I definitely knew I hadn’t over heard myself. It really was time to leave. Slowly and steadily, my heart sank, and butterflies were beginning to form in my stomach. It wasn’t the first time I was leaving my parents, but this time I also had to take care of my little sister. As we walked down the escalator, I kept on thinking about how I was going to tamper her emotional changes. What if she started to cry uncontrollably on the plane when she thought about mom? Let’s not think the worst, I said to myself as we slumbered to the security check. By the time we were about to leave, my palms were wet with sweat, and I kept looking back at my parents. As I looked back at my parents for the 8th and final time, ready to ask them the final question, a reassuring nod from my father was enough to settle my melancholy for a while.

I stood on the side of the entrance of the colossal plane as I gripped onto the handle bars, lining the passage to the jet. I could feel the cold metal contrasting against my sweating palms. The feeling was awkwardly similar to the way my heart felt at the moment; cold, desolate, barren. It was as if the bottle of water that was half full was suddenly half empty. I felt as if the butterflies in my stomach had transformed into a rearing tiger ; eating away at my flesh memories. I gripped to my sister’s hand, the only family I had during this dreary 13 hour trip on wings.
We took our seat, in the far right row in the third aisle. My sister was shuffling beside me; popping on the earphones and seeing what kind of music they had on air. Meanwhile, I looked around the majestic bird. It was packed with velvet seats, lining each row, still and silent like the head stones of the graves at Arlington Cemetery; row after row, not moving at all. As I looked down the aisle, I could see that it felt as long as my journey would be on this plane; twisting, turning, boring. Never ending. Engulfed in my thoughts, I hadn’t realized that people had begun to fill in the seats, charting amongst them relies. I sighed; this was going to be an everlasting trip. I closed my eyes as the colossal bird began its journey from the runway to the vibrant sky.

I was awoken by a sudden shake at my shoulder. Feeling woozy, I felt as if we had arrived to our destination. I looked around the darkness for a while. Waiting for my eyes to adjust, I soon realized I had been shaken awake. My heart thumped against my chest and I could hear the thumps through my eardrums, against my face. I turned swiftly to the right and instantly realized that it was my sister. Through her grimace and hand gestures, I knew she had to use the bathroom, but how was I going to do this? I thought about the times that I’ve seen this happen with my parents. Be calm, I tried to say to myself, look calm, do it as if was mom or dad. I took her hand and walked her down the aisle, down the velvet seats that were silent, diminished from talk as people were sleeping, laying motionless. I slowly walked her to the bathroom “Can you handle it by yourself?” I whispered. With my reassuring nod, my sister pushed open the door and closed it slowly behind her under my watchful eye. I sighed and leaned against the wall. Little did I know, this would be the least of my problems as we cruised through the skies.

I opened my eye wearily in the darkness. The movie screen played a film. The plane suddenly lurched, and I felt my head against the back of the purple, velvet, seats. Vibrating simultaneously with the rhythmic movement of the plane. When it has all stopped, I look to my right to see if my sister is alright. She is, after a fight with her memories. As she lays motionless, asleep, I could still recall the moments only an hour before. She had thought of mom, as I expected her to do. She cried horribly, though, which I was surprised by. There was a stream of tears coming down her cheeks as she thought about mom. I tried to calm her using words, but that was out of time, and didn’t work. Slurred words poured out of her mouth mixed up with her salty tears as she told me how much she missed our parents. To tell you the truth, I missed them dearly, as well, whenever I thought about them; I would also have a mental breakdown as all the memories flowed back in my head. Finally, I got to calm her, reminding her about the best rather than the worst. I sighed, even if things could get worse, we only had 3 more hours. How bad could it get?
I laid my head against the velvet seats, closed my eyes, and tried to sleep. But sleep never come. Before, I could open my eyes, though, the vibrant aisle lights were turned on, blinding me. As my eyes adjusted to the light, my sister shuffled in her seat, making me feel inactive and silent. Soon, the air attendants were pushing the food carts down the aisle, wearing their expressionless smile like a marble statue. Soon, they stopped temporally at my aisle, and after we received our share of food, progressed down the aisle. Yawning, I looked over to my sister to see if she needed my help, knowing that she wouldn’t. Sure enough, she was busily unwrapping the separated packages the food was contained in. Sighing, I looked over to my own plate, slowly uncovering the aluminum covering and revealed the fried rice underneath. Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. In one swift movement, my sister’s arm moved over to one of the smaller pockets on her plate and knocked over her drink, sending it flying over her seat, and flipped, dumping its juice in my lap. I turned to her, wanting to scold her, but suddenly felt no need for it, and I pressed the flight attendant button. My call was quickly answered. As for my problem, this time, the answer wasn’t so simple. It required mostly my own work as I soaked the towel I was given with the liquid spilled on my pants. After a vicious clean up, I sighed, put the towel aside and fished up the last part of my dinner, maybe the future wasn’t as bright as it looked.

Sometimes, people ask me “What did you do during your summer break?” It’s a hard question, when they ask me so suddenly. How did I spend my summer? Was it just an ordinary plane ride? Or was it a journey testing my patience, my responsibility, my endurance. A test of understanding people more, looking into their inner person. Understanding my sister not as a member of my family, but a new friend who I had just met. I had to walk in her shoes as the world changed rapidly around her. Although my whole trip was unforgetful and everlasting in my forever memory, all of it seems to be lost in time, except that 13 hour plane ride that had changed me ever since.

I open my eyes turn to the person. “What did do during my summer?” I sigh. “You better sit down. Let me tell you about it.”





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