Taking Flight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 19, 2017

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Submitted: November 19, 2017



Taking Flight

By Rota Safiri


“Most of our childhood is stored not in photos, but in certain biscuits, lights of day, smells, textures of carpet.” ~ Alain de Botton


I could tell you about the time I drank vodka out of a water bottle by accident. I could tell you about the time that one of my first words caused a fight to break out in a pharmacy. I could tell you about how I quit pacifiers or how I was a bit of a prankster, even at a young age. I think you get the point; I could speak of a silly, funny memory, but I won’t. I’m going to talk about the time I flew.


Childhood memories are very vague. I remember snippets from that day as though they were slow-motion montages in a music video. and you’ll soon understand why. If you’re thinking that I either boarded a plane or miraculously sprouted wings, you’re wrong. I have been on a plane before, and I have jumped off my bed with plastic angel wings and a matching glittery dress, but that’s not what I mean.


Every person has dreamed of flying at one point in their lives.


Sure, we could go on planes or even jump off of them and skydive, but everyone knows that it doesn't match the fantasy version of flying, whether by broomstick, magic carpet, wings, or just floating in the air of your own accord. Flying has always been so desired by people (myself included), and I think I may have an inkling as to why. Maybe some people just want to soar in the sky with the wind blowing in their hair, but I’m certain that some people want flight as an escape.


As a five-year-old girl, I still had a touch of the blissful oblivion that children always have. Adults, thinking they can’t handle it, don't tell them about life’s problems and just wait until they’re old enough to struggle through it on their own. I know for a fact that my parents embellished certain things about life or made them seem much simpler than they really were. I remember that before we moved from California to Virginia, where we currently reside, my aunt had a surprise for us.


Back then, I adored surprises. Now, not so much. At that time, surprises meant something good, but with all that's going on these days, surprises could mean anything, so I don’t exactly look forward to them. Nevertheless, Kindergartener-me was thrilled.


Anyway, my mom, my aunt, my grandma and I piled into my aunt’s car and she drove to the mystery location, chatting animatedly along the way about things they would now probably consider to be irrelevant. The three of them probably considered giving me a sedative due to my inordinate amount of excitement on the way there.


If you ask me to think of a color to associate with every memory I have of that day, I will, without a shadow of a doubt, choose orange. Orange was the color of the sun, which tainted the sky and clouds with its deep pigment. It spread all over the fields and onto our bright faces as we looked at the (surprise) orange hot air balloon in front of us.


To say that I was shocked would be like saying that I wasn't obsessed with Disney for the majority of my life; even to this day. I totally still binge-watch Disney. and at that moment, I was truly stunned.


We went over to the hot air balloon that was sitting enticingly in the field. I remember thinking it was beckoning me over, tempting me to hop on. It probably was. I don’t have any information to fill the gap between heading over to the balloon and being at least fifty feet in the air. Not only do I not remember it, but I also would never want to fabricate the raw emotions I was feeling then.


All I know is that I stepped into the basket, and then slowly, slowly, slowly…


I was flying.


It wasn’t the kind of flight that you could scream for; it wasn't fast enough. You were just floating over the world, seeing it from a whole new perspective. You could see farmers planting crops, cars stuck in traffic, and people dashing around town and running errands. And up there, all you could hear was silence before the important sounds kicked in. The sound of your own breath catching in your throat. The sound of the fire bursting into the balloon. All of your five senses would be heightened and in overdrive. You could feel your tiny hand curling around your mother’s larger one. Everyone was leaning on one another in some way as we all blissfully took in our surroundings.


It wasn't like flying on a plane. It wasn't at all guarded or closed. You could feel everything. You could touch the air around you, as strange as that sounds. It was epic and beautiful.


I remember the sunset quite vividly (orange, of course) as it spread across and darkness began seeping into the sky. I don't remember how long we were up there, but I do know that the moon was shining brightly when we stepped down. I wish I could say that everyone was so in awe of what they had seen that no one spoke, but they all did, myself included. Maybe that’s what made it so realistic. such a different experience than what you get in movies. We were no longer in awe because, like everything else in life, it was simply a fleeting moment, happening one minute and over the next.


Although I may look back at this memory and smile, I really didn't have the ability to comprehend the deep beauty of that day and see it for what it was. I was younger, less experienced, and even though many may laugh at my young, inexperienced thoughts, right at this moment, I know myself, and I know that I’m a different person than who I was all those years ago.


I will still say, however, that whether you experience them at a young or old age, moments are moments, and that specific one was extraordinary.



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