Arrivals & Take Offs

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Whenever I get randomly sad, I think about airports and flying. I think about airports not because I want to run away. Honestly, the idea of running away is also good, as traveling is one of the best form of escapes I could think of, but I think about airports not because I am fascinated with planes. I’m actually still quite frightened of the idea of flying; but, I always pick the window seat whenever I travel to give myself a fantastic view from the top, and to easily take snaps of beautiful skyline. I can say that it is my favorite form of torture – for the sake of capturing photos of clouds, and slightly overcoming fear of heights.

Planes, however, are actually fascinating in general – how it was amazingly built to connect one place to another making long distances nothing in a matter of minutes or hours. It fascinates me how planes can bring you quite close to your childhood dream of touching clouds, and how I imagine them to be so soft and fluffy. But I think about airports and flying not because I like planes. I think about airports because it comforts me.

Whenever I get sad, I think about airports, and the moment of replaying one of the most sincere scenarios I can remember. Where else in the world you can see balloons, flowers, huge welcome home signs, and a lot of running, hugging, and happy crying happen in one room? It is where I can remember one of the sincerest welcomes, and the sweetest reunions. I haven’t been in that situation yet. Traveling alone most of the time, it is a usual moment for me to just watch people reunite, and moments after, I hop in a cab or book myself an uber ride home. But the heyday of an arrival is tempered by the comforting feeling that you are finally home again.

I think about airports because there is hardly a better place I can think of to people watch. Peruse the crowd at an airport, you are guaranteed to see a huge range of nationalities, races, gender, and social classes. And I sit there, imagining like Theodore in Her, making myself try and feel them as more than just a random person walking by. I imagine what it is like to be them in that moment, what they are feeling, what they had for breakfast, where they are heading to, how deeply they have fallen in love, and how much heartbreak they have all been through.

And though I admit that I am fond of going places, flying still scares me a little. You may find it peculiar but I love the baby panic it gives me whenever I start hearing the plane engine roar, especially during takeoffs. It excites me. Although I am still fidgety when the aircraft matches the beating of my heart, and whenever the pilot says “cabin crew to takeoff stations”, because I know seconds from that, we will soon be detached from the ground. And that very moment we detached from the ground, I feel like I am gambling a huge part of myself, suspended in the air.

It is not just the excitement of the adventure that awaits whenever I step into an airport, but I think about airports and flying as bookends of new chapters, and long-awaited endings. Airports and flying is a constant reminder for me to feel, and that regardless of the emotions you have, we succumb like planes, and let the air fleet us to another feeling.


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