I didn’t understand flying and to be fair, flying probably didn’t understand me.
I was sitting in the departure lounge, looking out of the windows at the plane I would shortly by boarding.
It was huge!
And made of metal!
It must have weighed as much as a big house!
I’ve never seen a house fly, how on earth could this monstrosity take to the skies?
I mean, sparrows, ok, they flap their wings like crazy and somehow take off, but this metal monster, didn’t even flap it’s wings!
All beyond me!
Then the thought got worse!
Soon there would be three hundred people inside this aluminium tube, not only three hundred people, but three hundred people carrying every scrap of their belongings that they could squeeze inside a suitcase.
How much do three hundred suitcases weigh?
All these inconsiderate people have decided to wear clothes!
I looked around in panic, hoping that at least some people would be in their underwear to give us the tiniest chance of getting this thing into the air.
I shouldn’t have looked around, if I hadn’t I may not have noticed the mobile phones, or the head phones, iPads, laptops, game consoles, hand luggage, food, drinks!
We were doomed, have these people got a death wish?
I turned my attention back to the plane, just in time to see a huge petrol tanker begin to shift the equivalent of sixteen oil wells into the planes wing. I watch, barely breathing, waiting for the wing to snap off under the burden.
The catering truck came to a halt and enough food to feed Somalia for a year was squeezed on board.
Not content with the fuel and food, a thirty six coach luggage train arrived and began disgorging mountains of suitcases into the underbelly of the plane.
Things were looking really bad, why did no-one else look worried?
I looked around the lounge again and saw an old couple sitting a little ways away from me. The lady was trying to get out of her chair and the man she was with, hurried round to help.
He, very gently, put his arms around her and eased her out of the chair. Still holding her, he picked up two sticks, one at a time and placed them into her quivering hands. She was stooped and bent even supported by her sticks. The man took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped some spittle from her mouth. He leaned close, whispered something to her, stroked her thinning hair and then kissed her.
The poor lady, was at best plain, her body bent and broken, her hair thin and straggly, the jumper she was wearing was buttoned up wrong and yet she had a presence, a quiet grace. When the man kissed her, she had the smile of an angel.
I watched them move away. She lurched and staggered, but his arms were there, holding, guiding and supporting her.
I felt a tear form in my eye as I watched true, real love stumbling across the room, lurching, almost falling, the arms always there, the whispered words of encouragement.
How I envied them.
I learned a lot that day. None of it about flying. I saw myself in a different light and not all of it was good, in fact not much of it was good.
I wish the old couple a safe journey and may God bless and keep them safe.