I was very excited on the eve of my first-ever airplane flight – probably like any four year old on a sugar high.
I imagined how it would be, exciting sounds, big airplane, flashing lights, but most of all, I imagined whom I would meet – and I’m not talking about the other passengers.
I was told, in confidence, that the sound of thunder was actually angels playing, rolling big wooden barrels. I was also told that Jesus or Jézuska – aka baby Jesus, as he is known when it comes time for Christmas gift deliveries – is also a resident of the clouds.
With all these interesting characters residing in the heavens, I couldn’t wait to see it all with my own eyes. Wave at them, maybe have a little chat and, you know, discuss my wish list for next Christmas.
I sat down, belted in tightly, listened to the safety instructions, I was so ready for take off.
The engines roared – I’m loving it – the plane is tilting, then my ears are doing something funny. Mom gives me chewing gum, motions me to yawn, ears pop.
I’m looking out the window, expectantly. The clouds are shaped in long thin streaks, almost transparent, no sign of angels, baby Jesus, or barrels. I wonder if we need to climb higher, or maybe they went to sleep. Or are they on other clouds, further away?
The plane levels off. The captain tells us that we have reached cruising altitude. Apple juice is served.I suck on the straw with purpose, without loosing sight of the clouds. Where could they all be? The clouds keep moving along peacefully.
A sinking feeling sets in. There is no party in the clouds today, maybe there never was. It started to dawn on me that all this may not exist.
Clouds are just… clouds.
I was four, way too young to discover these hard truths.