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Monday, 12 March 2012

Landing gear

The plane circles over east London for quite a while; it seems like the world and his wife want to travel on a Friday night. Just below us a million acres of candyfloss cover the sky, hiding the city from view. It looks genuinely solid, like a mattress of feathers waiting to be bounced on. From my seat at the wing I look out as we dip and turn, dip and turn, the map on the tiny TV screen showing a big red circle of our station in the holding pattern.

As the sun sets further it becomes our turn to descend and so we dip again, the blade of the wing cutting into the candyfloss as if it were mere air. As we sink into the cloud the world outside disappears and for all I can tell we could be suspended on a movie set, dry ice piped in around us. At the end of the wing the white light blinks and blinks showing no-one where we are.

Below the white veil London is ablaze with a million golden gemstones, each winking and sparkling against the deep blue of the evening sky. Amongst the citrine and garnet are diamonds and rubies and the occasional sapphire, each one set to dazzle as we draw closer. My heart lurches with warmth and pride towards this fair city, with its nasty multi storey car parks and grand streets, its glittering glass towers and its homely pubs. When Heathrow comes into view, all corrugated and industrial, I turn the volume on my iPod up to soundtrack the landing. The wheels touch the tarmac and I bump forward as we break heavily. Home.

13 comments:

Gia said...

A very nice scene you have set up here!

Kristen said...

This is very relaxing to read, and it becomes personal as we envision not only the city, but your feelings toward it. Nicely done!

mo.stoneskin said...

As someone who hates flying soundtracking the landing is a brilliant idea, I almost want to get in a plane just to do that.

Absolutely love the description of the descent, words beautifully woven with emotion.

terlee said...

Been there, done that...and you brought it back to me so beautifully.

Loved the wonderful visual of the gems and jewels, and your obvious pleasure at being home again.

Philip said...

I liked that a lot. I wanted it to be longer. You had the mid air thing nailed and could have floated me round in the air for longer. Isn't it odd that air can seem an odd mixture of wispy and solid at the same time. I once saw bastille day fireworks from a plane, it was truly weird, in much the way you describe.

Bouncin Barb said...

This was great. I love to fly at night for the view. And when those wheels touch down I say the same thing..."home".

Chantel said...

This shimmered...and made me think of sweet confections in the same moment. An alluring combination.

Starlight said...

I love the description, it's so detailed and perfect that it feels like I was sitting right next to you. I only wish that the story would be longer, it feels that you've landed a bit too quickly.

Afrodeezha said...

I loved this! I too, wished it was longer. I was drawn in between your descriptions and my memories.

pilgrimchick said...

I really enjoyed this piece--it reminds me, without a question, of any time I have been on an airplane about to land.

Peter Olson said...

I believe that London is one of the few places where you still often go in circles before landing; so nice - when the sky is clear... and you are not in a hurry!

T. Roger Thomas said...

I certainly enjoyed reading this.

Jennifer said...

I've never flown, but this was lovely.