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The Flight

Joined: 12/23/2014
Posts: 2
I've never seen her so stressed. Mum juggles cardboard boxes at home, frown lines magnified as she attempts to pack while feeding and entertaining three confused boys. Meanwhile, Dad, flown across the planet, sunbathes on the island of Oahu.
A few weeks before, on a silent evening nearing the end of June, I find Mum lying face down on our flowery brick patio, soaking up the last few drops of sunlight in the day. Her eyes are closed and she whispers to me that she's going to get married to Dad in two weeks time. When I ask her why, she tells me that we are off to live in a place called America. I don't know what to think.
"Why?" I ask, even though I know the answer. We are moving over a line that Dad has accidentally given life to, see you in another life, bruthah.
"For work," Mum says.
I try to picture America. I've only heard the word a couple of times. It's a distant accent I have caught glimpses of when observing the cheese-filled voices on American Idol, the scruffy warm carpet tugging me down. It's a photograph revealing where my two flexible cousins, for some reason, live, gymnastic trophies decorating their huge plain house in the middle of sunny nowhere. It's an enormous tree I once shouted and pointed at when Mum soared me up high on our blue vomit-stained swing, until it got cut down because of a fungus growing on it. The word 'America' was empty, and, in less than a month, I would be living in it.
"It'll be a fun chapter in our life," Mum smiles at me. I imagine it spread out like butter between each chapter of a thick book.
After greetings and goodbyes of cherished items hidden behind cobwebbed walls of our red brick house, we find ourselves in a taxi, and then miles away, in an airport hotel. There is no turning back now. Esau and Eli are quick to jump onto the bed and switch on the TV to find War of the Worlds playing, but I turn my head away, not sure if the idea of moving or the images on the screen make me nauseous.
Mum tells me to take a bath, as I look sweaty, so I strip down to plop myself into a scorching, unfamiliar bath. I sit still, letting the warm water sink into my white skin that will soon probably turn tanned, trying to digest the thought of moving. The door to the toilet is left wide open.
I hear Mum answer her little silver phone and abruptly change the channel on the TV, at which Esau and Eli whine, leading to bold white words screaming, "BREAKING NEWS" and "BOMB THREAT". I peer over to Mum.
"Ann, don't go. Not with the boys," the muffled voice leaks out from the phone. It's Grandpa.
"I have to! Where else can I go? The house is completely locked up."
"It doesn't matter. I'm not letting you go, Ann."
Mum stands in the hotel bedroom, her expression pale as ever. Her face scrunches up and tears stream down her face. I decide she is simply crying on the phone to Grandpa about how much she will miss him, even though I'm old enough to know that something is terribly wrong. The water surrounding me is scorching hot and I begin to shiver.
The next morning we are scheduled to fly to LA. Outside of the airport, we wait around for something, so Eli and Esau play around with Mum's mobile phone. We're going to live in an enormous house in Hawaiyee with a swimmin pul and hot tub, next to a beach and even have an enormous tree house! Esau squeals into the phone camera in his almost cockney accent. Mum stands in the background, looking for something, frown lines magnified.
Once we get inside the airport, I am suddenly lost. Trembling, I sit myself down at a table of a nearly empty breakfast restaurant. I pick up a newspaper and flick through its heavy pages to find an image of a dead baby in the arms of its dead mother, both covered with ash, and try not to burst into tears. People have already begun to evacuate the airport.
I suddenly see Mum's face in the distance.
"What are you doing? Hurry up!" her blurry face screams to me. I rush over to her and she grabs my hand. I expect some sympathy, but suddenly we are all sprinting across the slippery white marble floor.
I find our-selves standing in a line leading to the only plane flying in Heathrow airport, and Mum begins to second-guess herself, as if we have bought ourselves a one-way ticket to death.
"No, Annie, don't worry. Just go. Take the boys and go. They've checked the plane, loads of times now. It's probably more than safe. I promise you'll be fine, darling. I love you." Dad sunbathes.
"Alright, we're going." Mum croaks.
I'm embarrassed when Mum kindly offers bagged sweeties down the line of up-tight, nervous passengers. We are about to board the plane and can't bring anything on, not even Mum's pink purse. My last wish is to die on a journey to paradise.
Just as we have settled into our uncomfortable plane seats, an enormous body stuffed with McDonalds chips and burgers wobbles into the tight walkway of the plane. I wonder if her bum will fit into her seat, and if the majority of people in America will be this fat. I wonder if she will weigh the entire plane down.
"Lucas, please don't stare at people. It's rude."
During the flight, my eyes are fed with American cartoons with humor that I don't pick up on. "Boys, please get to sleep. We're landing sooner than you'd think." Mum puts back on her eye-mask on to distract herself. Even the flight attendants have gone to sleep.
A few hours later, my eyes dart open and, rejoicing silently, I realize that we have survived. The entire plane is void of passengers. The flight attendant grows impatient at Esau and Eli who are completely unresponsive, knocked out dead with mouths wide open. Mum tries to wake them up with gentle nudges, but I can tell she finds it funny. Mum's frown lines have simmered down.
We are greeted at the airport in LA by a camera and a female reporter rushing over to Mum. For a second, I assume that all of this commotion is because Dad is famous now. Eli and Esau run away into the toilets, playing hide and seek, and the female American reporter begins to bombard Mum with questions about how stressful and scary the flight was. Tears form in her eyes, and, even though I'm desperate for a pee, I stand as close as possible to her in my Heely's, much too exhausted to feel the slightest drop of embarrassment.
We are alive.
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