Learn to Fly

[lurn too flahy]: It’s about the search for some sort of inspiration, the search for signs of life that will make you feel alive.

Anne finally made the big time; international. It is at a little over three in the morning as the Scandinavian summer sun shined bright. Anne rolled slowly and wearily out of her bed; hair looking like that of a teenager waking up the morning after parting carefree through the night before. However, she was not a teenager; it was instead the morning after an extra late flight from Heathrow. It is the life of international; it is a life of a flight attendants work.

The alarm that called her to wake up and start the day was not an alarm clock, but the voice through the telephone calling out her name. It was the words: “Call in” that made her jump with up fake enthusiasm to the shower. Straight to Arlanda, no more than two hours of sleep.

Three in the morning this is no easy production. At three in the morning mentally prepared and being called in is a lot harder. The firm mantra of “do not like surprises” holds like boat made of paper in a river, this kind of peace of mind will get you nowhere with flying.

“Standards” Anne thought to herself knowing that without them she would be nothing. From making it through training, or finally getting through the years of waiting for the better paid longer flights she has now; standards were now the line she lived by in her life.

After Anne showered she rescued the blue blazer, skirt and white blouse of her uniform from the cleaner’s bag and wired hanger. She pulled the skirt slowly up her firm thighs and in a swift one-handed movement buttoned her blouse over her perfectly round silicon breasts.
She threw on her blazer like a theater actor who was getting ready for another performance. She stood in front of the mirror across the bed and looked as though she was drowning in a sea of blue.

She later made her way to the early morning bus. Sitting weary eyed she placed her black headphones over her ears. No jazzy tunes that reminded her of people stepping on and off airplanes would throw through the speakers. Anne found her solace in rap music. The bass sounds throbbing early in the morning was her first blood music for the day.

When the bus stopped she walked into the airport and adjusted the red and blue scarf that hung around her neck. Here was the home that was far away from the city she was raised in. She now ate and socialized with the life in terminal five; the center for all international travel. Her route today would be from the laid-back Stockholm skies to the center of the universe: New York City. This is the big time; the nine and a half hour trip to the pie in the sky.

The passengers on their way to their destinations would stare at her with a picture of fantasies as she rode the escalator that only the staff rode on.

Where is she going?”

What airline does she work for?”

She walked past them proudly as though she was a thoroughbred being displayed at a horse show.

Flight assignments were passed out like candy to small children on Halloween. Anne reached out and took her paper which assigned her to the economy class. She enjoyed the action there more than watching four passengers in first class for a full flight.

A few minutes later Anne found herself walking on the tarmac with her fellow co-workers that would be running the plane to the other side of the world. Three women and a man she would spend the next two days with (flight and time in New York included) and would get to know everything about; then never see again.

It was now show time. The passenger door opened and Anne started using the minimal amounts of facial muscle smile while welcoming the masses and helping with their baggage. The passengers used her like a Tetris genius; taking advantage of her kindness of not following the airline directive; “The passenger must be able to place their luggage in the overhead bin and the flight attendant must only need to advise where to place the said luggage”. Her kindness killed her back.

When seats were filled and silence grew on the plane; Anne felt the roar of the engines below her feet as the plane slowly started to roll down the runway.

Anne felt the vibrations and turning of her stomach as she reached for the microphone attached to the wall. Today it was her turn to read the safety briefing;

With the fluency of a theater actor in a Shakespeare play she spouted the words out of her mouth like a fountain. Anne fills her restless nights lying in her bead looking at the ceiling telling herself over and over again like a young heartbroken lover begging to be loved again. She knew these words in her sleep.

In the unlikely event of an emergency landing and evacuation, leave your carry-on items behind. Life rafts are located below your seats and emergency lighting will lead you to your closest exit and slide. We ask that you make sure that all carry-on luggage is stowed away safely during the flight. While we wait for take-off, please take a moment to review the safety data card in the seat pocket in front of you.”

As the plane slowly started to lift in the air Anne could feel the sweat on her palms and her heartbeat racing. It is not easy being a flight attendant when you are afraid of flying. She slowly swallowed her throat with a silent gulp and felt the engine shaking underneath her seat at the front of the plane as the elevation rose higher and higher. Fasten your seatbelts.

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