First Flight

Describe a first experience and how it effected you.

When youâre four and Daddy is twenty-eight, heaven is in the passenger seat of a red Jeep going 65 on the highway. When the Jeep has no top, and Daddyâs crying as you head for the airport, you blast Nirvana as loud as possible. Loud, so you donât ask about his tears. Loud, so you can hear guitar over the screaming wind. Loud, so no one forgets that Daddy is still young, and single. And loud, so you donât have to think, so you can forget that this will be your first flight.

Technically, this wonât really be my first flight, but my second. It will be short and direct; one hour from Philadelphia to Buffalo, and nothing to cause tears, or worry, except that, at four, Iâll be flying alone.

Security is lacking on this day, in this year, as no one has yet considered the dangers of hijackers, and tall towers. We run to the gate where Daddy signs papers, asks questions, and hands over our green duffel bag. I look up at Daddy, and his eyes are red, but dry. He pulls me aside, and reminds me that Iâm to be five for this flight, ânot four, five.â? If anyone asks me, itâs ok to lie today, not tomorrow, though. Tomorrow Iâll be four again.

When the lady in uniform takes my hand I must leave Daddy. We hug, kiss, and cry. A long hallway leads me...

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