The last thing I thought about before I fell asleep last night and the first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning were the same. This dream is a daydream, but the dream, as they say in Risky Business and on couches everywhere, is always the same. I grab the yoke and pull back hard. My heart pounds and the jet fights to level.
When the thought hit this morning, I got out of bed, checked my e-mail — it calms my nerves, a reminder of connections, people and comfort — and watched a video that I knew would distract me for a few minutes.
I fly anyway. That’s how I usually put it. Fear of flying is dumb, plain and simple. It’s irrational. People ask me if September 11 contributed, and I don’t think so. Falling in love for the first time was what did it.
Years into the guarantee of the family, love was different, expanding, pushing on map lines. When you said goodbye at the airport, there was a new and tenuous connection with the world at stake. You can call this reason as dumb as a fear of flying. It’s true for me, that’s all.
So, you, let’s have a toast. Here’s to … flying to another country, flying on a tiny plane, flying with a passport, flying to a new region, flying in the cockpit, flying across the country, flying over real mountains, flying the red eye, flying to a new altitude, flying on a huge plane, and the loved ones and friends alongside, slowly leading you from the ground to the sky, from the aisle to the window seat and across the ocean.