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Flight School

(Feeling poetic today)

I fly home buried in a windowless-window seat and my own mind.

We’ll land soon, right? I turn expecting a view to help me gauge my distance from the ground, but am instead greeted by an unforgiving plastic wall. So, I close my eyes in search of a familiar feeling.

You know the one, don’t you? When the soft turbulence sets in as the plane descends; it reminds me of the years my mother woke me for school--her voice was never as soft as it was then. I think about how funny it is to look for things with my eyes closed--a break, an answer, a scrap of concentration, a perfect hiding spot.

And suddenly I’m floating attentively, swallowed by my chair, and a child hiding in my parents’ closet on a Saturday night. I’m giggling uncontrollably, playing hide and seek with my cousins. It smells like play-doh and I am nine with lively curls that obstruct my vision.

Then I am eleven, playing “Museum” with my brother--a game we lovingly invented. I search for that feeling, eyes stapled shut. Our challenge is to build a pillow fortress, and our reward to tumble carelessly into its embrace. It's as warm as the hot chocolate my brother loved then. I sprint breathlessly towards my “Museum” feeling.

How far am I from the ground? I suppose I’m touching it when I am eighteen playing cards with my family. The glass table I drew on when I was little is since replaced, but this new one is glass too. It’s familiar, adorned with fingerprints and polished with laughter. I want this all to last forever.

And then I am back on the plane, searching for a feeling that tells me I am almost home. When will the careful shaking come? Will someone on this plane tell me when it comes? I want to reach my hands out and touch it--make sure it’s there. Will it be gone before I find it?

I realize that when I can’t see, my feelings are the only window.

I think of my heart stretching in four directions: three by the characters of the “Museum,” hot chocolate, card games, dancing in the living room, bike-rides-on-a-Sunday feelings, and the remaining one by me.

I know that we are at once one and not, that I love best when I am free to--not burdened, and that my decisions are as fair as they are mine.

When I can’t see the ground below, much less in front of me, where am I to step? How will I know if I am falling down, apart, or into place?

But here I am, back in my chair, only this time the pilot. This time my family is with me, hands tenderly on my back. My feelings are my map and, somehow, I can land this plane with my eyes closed.

1 Comment

Hana Diaz
Hana Diaz
Nov 23, 2022

such talent with words ms francine, love it as always 💓

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