Up There This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     My mind was telling me not to go, to turn and run the other way. My feet, however, seemed to have a mind of their own.

I climbed into the stuffy compartment, sat, and secured my seat belt, double-checking it was tight. Then I examined the foreign environment. There must have been a hundred dials on that dashboard in front of me, each one looking more complicated than a calculus problem. The windshield was filthy with the remains of bugs and who knows what else. The doors locked and I immediately felt trapped. My cousin, Bobby, took his seat next to me and gave me a headset identical to his. I awkwardly placed the bulky device over my ears and sat back, gripping the door handle. Anticipating what was about to happen, I took deep breaths.

The engine roared to life.

Vibrations filled the cockpit, hitting me from every angle. We began our slow, bumpy crawl toward the runway. Over the headset I heard Bobby tell me that during the pre-flight check I would hear him talking to himself as well as chatter from pilots in the sky. He assured me he knew what he was doing, but regardless, I was beginning to feel sick.

The plane came to a stop at the runway’s starting point and Bobby began the pre-flight checklist. When done, he glanced at me and asked if I were nervous. I managed a weak smile, pressing myself deeper into my seat.

We set off down the runway, picking up speed. As we accelerated, I watched the lights become a streaking blur of yellows, reds and blues. As I saw the end of the pavement approach, I said a quick prayer and closed my eyes.

My stomach dropped.

Opening my eyes, I realized we had left the ground and I took in the sight before me. Through the splattered bugs, I saw a sunset that was breathtaking. Instantly, all my nervousness disappeared. The sky was peaceful - how could anyone be afraid up here? For a moment, I no longer was stressing about getting into college, trying to keep my grades up, or arguing with a friend. Here nothing mattered, and for the first time in my life I could take in the simple beauty of life and the world. The brilliant colors of the sky and the luscious green of the trees - I never wanted to come down. This had officially become my favorite place to be in the entire world.

I enjoyed seeing my hometown from a different angle. There was my school, my stores, the neighborhoods I walked through; I sat speechless. The highway that usually seems so intimidating appeared tiny and unthreatening. Bobby and I exchanged a few comments about how surreal everything appeared, but I was so engulfed in the view I felt incapable of talking. Everything looked so perfect; I never wanted to come down.

A few weeks have passed, and I’m back to worrying about college and grades. Every evening as I drive home from practice, I watch the sunset and try to picture it from that new perspective. I envision the traffic jam from the clouds. Instead of hearing blaring horns, I’d hear the soothing rumble of a plane engine. With a different perspective, all the fears, stress and worries of my hectic life can vanish into thin air. All I need to do is take a step back.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 3:48 am
i love this so much!
Anna L. said...
Apr. 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm
That was amazing! I love it!!! Was this your first time flying, or just your first time in a private plane in the cockpit? 
Lioness_Eyes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Great writing. I love it. :]
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