Taking Off

by Lauren K., Age 14 , Grade 8, Holy Trinity Parish School, Louisville , KENTUCKY USA
Teacher: Mrs. Reinhart

A gentle massage. Eyes blinking and blurring , starting to form a shape. A blinding smile that can only belong to my mother. A noise, hardly even a whisper. “Lauren, it’s time to wake up,” it cooed. Pile on pile of suitcases covering the floor. Memories flooding my brain trying to come up with an answer.  Then, the butterflies arrive.

I fly out of bed realizing that I will finally meet my idol. The one, the only, Mickey Mouse! He’s every six year old’s dream! I can see him standing there, waiting just for me. His big, round ears perched on top of his smiling face. His gloved hands will be outstretched, ready for a hug. He will then lead me through the entire park and we’ll skip all the lines to the rides. Then we’ll—

My mom snaps me out of my fantasy. “Honey, you have to get dressed. The plane leaves in two hours.” 

The plane! The larger than life piece of metal thundering through the sky. The deafening roar of the engine that’s sure to bust my ear drums. Sure, I’ve only heard stories, but they sound bad enough. There’s no way I’ll ever be able to put myself on that monstrous beast! Never in a million gazillion years! But then the idea of Mickey floats in my head. Mickey, still waiting at the gates for me. Mickey, looking disappointed and walking away with his head hung low. I can’t let Mickey down. I’ll do it, for Mickey.

That’s what I keep telling myself on the endless ride to the airport. I mean, Mickey’s a celebrity! He must do this sort of stuff all the time. If Mickey can do it, I can do it. The drive seems to last for days, and I start to think that maybe my dad is a secret spy and he’s really kidnapping me, when I hear this strange noise that almost sounds like an air conditioner when you put your ear directly on it. 

There, shooting into the sky like a rocket is what I’m going to be on in exactly one hour. Nuh-uh, there’s no way I’m getting on that plane now—a thousand Mickeys can’t change my mind. My dad clearly doesn’t agree with me since he easily maneuvers through the parking lot and slips into an empty parking space. We unload all our luggage and, not going to lie, it’s pretty fun rolling my suitcase all the way to the entrance.

The doors open automatically and the airport is… underwhelming. I expected the hustle and bustle like they always show on TV, but instead, it reminds me of a waiting room. Everyone’s just sort of standing there, looking like they’ve been awake all night. We fill out a few forms, get rid of our luggage, and then move on to the next section: security.

If I wasn’t already worked up, I certainly am now. What if they find out I stole Olivia’s hot pink colored pencil a few weeks ago? I’d be locked up for sure. I hear this grizzly old man growl at my parents to take their shoes off and place them in a gray, rectangular bucket that smells like a gas station bathroom that was just “cleaned”. When I start to take off my Sketchers, he grunts at me to keep mine on. Why me? Oh, no this can’t be good. I dart my eyes around to avoid making eye contact with Mr. Security Man. Past the contraption that takes the gas station buckets on a ride, I see a doorway shape with no door that’s the same color as the buckets. We inch closer and closer to the doorway until there’s nothing in front of me but the doorway itself. They don’t expect me to go in first, do they?

“It’s okay honey, just walk through it normally,” a young woman tells me. I take a few cautious steps forward to see what will happen. When nothing does, I scamper out the rest of the way. This amuses the security guards.

I wait patiently for the rest of my family to make it through the magic doorway and then we’re on our way again. We take so many turns and stop at so many stations, I stop paying attention to exactly where we are. Somewhere along the way, a donut appears in my hand. Even the sweet fluffiness of a donut can’t keep this one thought out of my head: every step is a step towards the plane. Before I know it, we’re walking down a small tunnel that can only lead to the airplane itself.

Sure enough, at the end of the tunnel is an entrance to an even tighter space. We turn right and I immediately see the endless rows of seats. People are scrambling all around—trying to find a seat suitable for themselves, stuffing their bags in cupboards over the aisle, and rearranging their sitting position in their seats. Thank goodness my mom is holding my hand in front of me, or I probably wouldn’t be able to move. My mom and I finally find a seat together while my dad and my brother sit across from us. I get the window seat and can see workers loading up all the luggage. I scan the cart of suitcases trying to find my own, but I can’t spot it. Besides, I have other things to worry about.

After about ten minutes, the plane jolts forward and continues moving at a steady pace. The noise is extremely loud, even though we’re technically only driving right now. The speed increases and the plane starts bobbing up and down like it’s deciding whether it wants to fly or not. It chooses yes, it does want to fly, and soon I’m clenching the armrest in one hand and squeezing my mom’s hand in the other. My stomach does a backflip as soon as the plane doesn’t bounce back on the ground. I press my face against the window as a gasp erupts from my mouth. People cheer as Louisville shrinks out of sight. I’m doing it! I’m really doing it! I’m flying! Mickey Mouse here I come!

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