The mid-morning sun danced off the thick cumulus clouds heaped up outside the cabin window. My throat was parched and my lips already chapped after only two hours of the manufactured air. When the plane first lifted, I lost my stomach looking out the window, but at 30,000 feet it just looked surreal.
Clouds are made of rainbows scooped up by fairies. You don’t think it, but when the sunlight hits them right, some of the colors escape. That’s why we have beautiful sunsets. The billows spread out over the sky as far as I could see were seeping with subtle pastels. It reminded me of an endless field of cotton candy, and cotton candy always reminds me of Jessi.
Bart, the nice man who held the air sickness bag for me, had been good enough to keep me occupied with conversation most of the flight. Now he was snoring softly next to me and I was alone with my thoughts. I wondered if he was dreaming. Probably. Probably not about fairies scooping up rainbows.
My nerves were a mess. It was my first trip home since I left for college and my first plane flight of my life had not been without adventure. My eighteenth birthday had just passed and it was the first time I would ever greet my parents as an adult. I had my newest manuscript with me and I was anxious to see if Mr. McClure would be pleased by the surprise. None of those things were responsible for my nerves.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the cabin speakers crackled. “We’ll be beginning our descent shortly and arriving about three minutes ahead of schedule. We’re expecting some turbulence, so please keep your seatbelts fastened.”
A few people applauded at the ahead of schedule part. I turned to look out the window again at the spun threads of fairy floss. Jessi was the reason for my nerves and the colors in the clouds had me trembling a little. It was almost five months since the hot July afternoon when she helped me get settled into my new home away from home. Five months since the emotions of being apart from each other for the first time in twelve years had erupted to become the doubt that now sat at the top of my stomach.
Jessi would be dreaming about fairies if she was the one sleeping next to me, or something exciting. I think her imagination will never tire. I could take or leave coming home for Christmas with my parents. Five months without Jessi, on the other hand, had tested my sanity. She was probably already waiting impatiently for me at the airport, excited by the three minute change in my arrival time. I swallowed my nerves as I stared out the window. I could taste the cotton candy on my tongue.
© 2012 Anne Schilde