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I officially hate flying for a number of reasons.
Exhibit A: “It’s relaxing,” people told me, “just laying back and looking at the sky.” What, exactly, is relaxing about being buckled into a seat that immediately triggers my claustrophobia, gripping the handles so hard my knuckles turn white, and desperately fixating my attention on the TV screen in front of me to keep from hyperventilating as the plane suddenly lurches up or down?
Exhibit B: “Flying is so much safer than driving in a car.” I’ve heard that a million times, but I’d like someone to explain to me how being over thirty-one-thousand feet in the air and sitting inside of a-hundred-and- seventy-five-thousand pounds’ worth of metal is ‘safe.’ I would also like to state the fact that most planes travel at speeds of over five hundred miles per hour. This is the exact opposite of safe.
Exhibit C: My ears hurt. For the record, gum hasn’t helped me yet, and they refuse to pop when I try fake yawning.
I’m still waiting for one good reason as to why flying could ever be placed under the ‘enjoyable experiences’ category.
Another thing is the airports. I don’t do well with large groups of people. If there are, like, twenty others, then okay, fine; I’ll deal. But with hundreds of people? Nope, thanks, I’m good. You sit on one side of the world and I’ll chill on the other half.
Unfortunately, I can’t distance myself in an airport or just go home.
Kinda stinks, especially since I’m starting to regret letting Mother off so easily.
I wiggle my jaw, trying to pop my ears, while staring at the head of the lady in front of me. Her hair’s such a bright pink it should come with a warning label. Warning: Do not stare at head for excessive amounts of time. Temporary blindness may occur.
I tense as the plane bumps slightly up and down. Turbulence. My new least favorite thing in the entire universe.
“You all right, Ami?” Mother asks.
“Great. Fantastic. I’m great. Where’s the barf bag?” I mutter, half joking but also feeling severely nauseous.
She pulls out her carry-on and rummages around inside for a moment, then produces a small, wrapped candy-looking thing. “I had a feeling this might happen,” she explains, handing me one. “Try it. It’s ginger.”
I unwrap it and pop it in my mouth. It helps after a couple of minutes.
“By the way,” she starts carefully, “did you text any of your friends about the move?”
I shrug. “No. I haven’t talked to any of them in months. We don’t really hang out anymore- you know that.”
She nods but says nothing.
The rest of the flight passes by slowly after that. I pull on my headphones and scroll through my Spotify playlists but don’t listen to anything.
After a while, I doze off. I guess the time passes more quickly when I’m asleep, because my mother nudges me awake gently.
“Hey,” she whispers. “Look out your window.”
I slide the window screen up to look outside, thinking this had better be worth it.
I am not disappointed.
“Oh, wow,” I breathe. The sky is dark, the stars are shining, and millions of tiny golden lights blink from below.
“Welcome to New York, Ami.”