Take Off | Teen Ink

Take Off

November 4, 2018
By InkyOwl GOLD, Bloomington, Indiana
InkyOwl GOLD, Bloomington, Indiana
10 articles 1 photo 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
Where Words fail, Music speaks.
~Hans Christian Anderson

“Group two, this is your call to board,” the gate agent’s tired monotone sounds over the intercom. I look up from my phone, shifting in the stiff, plastic chair. Not too much longer. I check the time: 12:36 a.m. The rows of identical (and uncomfortable) chairs that line the walls and make maneuvering suitcases difficult are filled with dozens of groggy travelers. Shifting and gathering their things, a handful of individuals slowly make their way to the line, shuffling past the gate and towards the gangway. I check the time again. 12:40. “Group three, this is your call to board. Group three, call to board.”

Pulling myself up, I pocket my phone, clutch my travel pillow, and hoist my boulder of a backpack over my shoulder while walking towards the growing column of people. Once I join the languidly moving line, I pull out my wrinkled boarding pass and smooth it out. The fatigued gate agent gives me an exhausted smile as she holds her hand out for the pass. I see several empty coffee cups at her desk. She has probably been standing at her desk for hours: it’s late, and she clearly wishes she were at home in bed. Same, ma’am. After the agent scans my pass, I walk through the gate, down the gangway, and board the plane.

Seated and settled in, I pull out my phone again. 12:53. Soon. The stewardesses stand and give the mundane, yet necessary, pre-flight safety demonstration. Pretending to follow along, I discretely send out some last-minute texts to family, letting them know I am on my way. I feel the jet slowly and smoothly begin to taxi towards the runway as the flight attendants make sure everyone is situated. The overhead intercom turns on: “Please turn off your mobile devices for take-off.” Checking the digital clock one last time, I power down my phone and tuck it in my overloaded bag. 1:05 a.m.— Right on schedule.

The fluorescent lights go out as I sit up, leaving the cabin bathed in a peaceful blue glow. I open the shade of the tiny window next to my seat and lean my head on the soft plastic of the plane’s interior, squinting to make out anything besides runway lights in the black velvet of night. Suddenly, the jet stops, and I feel the engines start up, rumbling and vibrating underneath my feet. The noise grows near deafening, and the roar travels up my legs, spreads through my chest, and fills my head. All the passengers instantly go silent. We begin to move.

Excitedly leaning towards the small window, I watch as the white runway lights whizz by, faster and faster. As we gain speed, I feel the momentum pushing me against the seat. Faster. I see the airport in the distance now, the squares of warm yellow and blue quickly disappearing out of view. The white lights are now one continuous line. Faster; faster. My heart races. The plane is moving at such a rapid pace that I can feel the friction of the wheels on the pavement growing less. Faster. Faster! Then the wheels leave the ground. Gravity squashes me back further into my seat. The nose of the aircraft gradually lifts towards the stars, and I am slapped with a sudden feeling of vertigo; however, I keep my eyes open and savor the feeling of my stomach dropping down to the bowels of the plane. We begin to turn sharply to the right, and I can see the lights of Seattle staring back at me. As we slowly level out, the endless night sky and hauntingly orange moon take over my vision, and the city shrinks to the size of a child’s Lego set.

Staring out the window of the plane, I pull my phone back out and put in earbuds. I play my favorite instrumental music by Ryan Farish, enjoying the low hum of the jet engines and the soothing rhythm of the blinking red light on the plane wing out my window. Contentedly watching the moon as it follows us, I lean back with my pillow and let the noises, sights, and unexplainable nostalgia lull me to sleep as the city slowly fades away, and we continue our ascent, eventually melding with infinite, inky expanse.

The author's comments:

I love the experience of taking off...

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