Not suspended in the air
Under the big white tent, I watch my brother and sister fail at the simulator – but laugh from the experience.
Now, they think it’s my turn.
“You know you want to get on the simulator.”
“Please, it’ll be fun.”
All these people start to swarm around me.
“Your sister and brother did it, why won’t you?”
Umm… Cause it’s my sister and brother. If ya haven’t noticed, we’re three completely different people.
Finally, my mom’s voice splits through the crowd, “Belle, just do it.”
I sigh in defeat.
I slowly start to walk toward the simulator; I’m standing in front of it.
“You just have to slide in.” one of the men in the crowd says.
I sigh again, I like my feet planted on the ground…Not suspended in the air.
I slip into the smooth seat – it’s like it’s made to fit me. It’s curves fit as if I had a mold made of myself.
I slide my hands over the shift, look at the screen, then nod to the tall salt and pepper haired man.
He hits the button.
And the machine comes to life.
Now I have to land this thing, this…Plane.
My eyes are glued to the screen, muscles in my body starting to work like I’ve done this before.
The plane lines up with the landing zone.
Perfect. I land it perfect.
The swarm around me is a bunch of professional pilots. They gasp, astonished.
“Have you ever flown?”
“You’re a natural.”
Out of nowhere, the button-pressing guy bumps up the level, “Let’s see if you can land it this time.”
He laughs to himself.
And, of course, I show him up. I land it.
The levels keep getting harder. I keep landing.
They start to murmur.
“Oh, my goodness. This girl is a natural.” “Are you her mom?” “She has a talent.” “Look at her steady hand.”
I get off the seat, just overflowing with confidence.
I know I shouldn’t be prideful. But I can’t help it.
Sitting at the pure wood dinner table.
Daddy’s at the head.
We all discuss our days at school.
Then Dad turns to me and says something that surprises me.
“Belle belle, Papa Bryant is coming over tomorrow morning to pick you up.”
“Why, I have school?”
Papa never does anything with us always “too busy.”
“I told him about you wanting to fly. He has some friends. So he called them up and one of them is going to take ya flying tomorrow.”
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Oh my goodness, TOMORRROW!
“Really?” I can’t believe this, I’m just bubbling over with joy.
He gives me the are-ya-dumb look, “Yeah, that’s kinda just what I said.”
My dream’s actually coming to life.
I, Belle Bryant, have a talent. Something I’m actually good at.
Sure. I tried a lot of things and was told “Good Job.” But never once was I told it came natural to me.
I look in my closet. What should I wear?
Tank top? yes.
I put on my clothes and my… My shoes! Crap! Where are they?
I find them on the front porch.
Okay, now I’m ready to sit and wait.
10 minutes, 20 minutes. Will he ever come?
A car pulls up in the driveway.
I run outside without a second thought, open the passenger door and duck inside.
“Hey, Belle. How do you feel?” My extremely reserved papa asks.
“I’m anxious. Slam on the gas, let’s go.”
He doesn’t say a word. We reverse out of the driveway – on our way to the airport area.
Now, I’m sitting in a beautifully buffed medal object, shifting the rudders to move out onto the forever extended runway.
My talent’s started to develop into a strong craving passion to get off the ground, to soar in the sky above the earth.
I ease the wheel, pulling up so slowly, so steady, so quietly. The nose tips toward the heavens and in a matter of moments, I glide over the quilted grass.
I turn the nose around for a couple touch and goes.
The sunlight pierces through the windshield. The flight instructor muffles in my headset muffs. “Isn’t this gorgeous?”
What an understatement, but I nod my head and agree.
We fly for a while longer.
But now it’s time to land and do the post exam of the plane.
What an event.
This moment’s tattooed in my memory forever. Never again will I think, I like my feet planted on the ground…Not suspended in the air.