Practice writing a short personal essay on getting off a plane

The plane ride was shorter than all the other times I flew from my Midwestern home to the Pacific coast; we must have hit an unusual tailwind going west. I wore a dress on the plane. Not so unusual, I had always worn dresses on plane trips. The dress was a dropped waist floral knit, very comfortable, very pretty. I wore pearls too, the pearls given to me by my mom and stepdad for my high school graduation. Come to think of it, I made the dress to wear for my graduation party too. Both were two years old. Both signaled my transition from childhood to independence, taking life into my own hands.

Maybe the flight was short because I was nervous. It wasn't the first time I'd flown solo (not that I piloted--of course I hadn't. I'm strictly passenger material); I flew out to college and back all by myself. I knew planes. I loved planes (I still do). I love the sound of overhead compartments clicking shut in succession as the flight attendant strolls down the aisle doing the final check of the cabin, making sure we were listening to the command to fasten our seatbelts. I love the adrenalin rush of taking off, the deafening roar of engines demanding that you notice that all laws of gravity are becoming invalid. I love the smell of circulating recycled air. I love the smell of the meat sauce of the (now extinct) stroganoff dinner in a plastic, shrink-wrapped tray. I love drinking free gingerale on an airplane, trying to keep it from spilling if we hit turbulence. I know how to use the oxygen mask, I know to put mine on first before I assist other passengers. I've always harbored a secret desire to fling myself down the emergency exit inflatable slides. I've always wanted to use my seat as a flotation device. I love planes. I love to arrive in a new, faraway, previously inaccessible place in just a few hours. So I wasn't nervous about the flight itself.

Whatever was making me nervous was not on the plane; it was what was waiting for me at the gate (back when they allowed anyone to stroll to the gate for any reason), or rather who. For all my other trips to the Pacific end of the country, I had family waiting for me, a family I was born into. I didn't need to impress them much, they were supposed to love me. The one who waited for me this time was under no such obligation.

What waited for me was an unknown, a potential. I hadn't ever risked this much for a future relationship before. Flirting and giggling and makeup and fashion only gets a girl so far. Actually spending a couple hundred bucks and asking someone that I didn't know all that well to pay attention to me for a whole week was enough to question my sanity all the way over the Rockies. And I'd have to stay with people I had never met and hardly ever heard talked about.

But as I walked down the jetway, through the door to sunny California airspace with the tang of salt in the breeze that followed me up to the gate, I saw the reason I came. He smiled. I smiled back. And my nervousness got back on the plane and continued on to parts unknown, taking a well-deserved vacation from me, not to be heard from that whole week.

Comments

Jen said…
Aww, that's a sweet story. I hope it's about Jim because then I don't know that I would classify it as sweet but rather....hmmmm.

You are a very good writer and grab the reader's attention from beginning to end. Love all the details about sounds, smells.
froggybaby said…
Loved it!! So sweet, too. But the details of the planes are good. There are so many uniquely plane smelling. You forgot to mention how I love to use the airplane bathroom because it is just me in there and it is nice to be alone! You are a great writer and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not even the voiced in your head!
Cindy said…
I once took a similar plane flight to California! Seems like the flights turned out well for both of us!