The best thing about being ticketed a window seat in the commercial section of a flight is the standing up at landing.
Even hunched over beneath the bulkhead, strangers’ bad breath mixing with my own, it feels so spacious. My upper back doesn’t even care that it’s concave; it’s so elated to be elevated. My forearms and elbows flap with joy–as they’re so over competing for an extra inch or two of armrest. Stand, breathe, stretch, flap. It’s a good life.
Sometimes my soul needs to stretch, too.
I don’t know how it happened, but when I was young, I ticketed my life with a commercial class window seat. At first the view was lovely. The space, though small, was ample enough. My legs didn’t mind the limitations, as they had no place they’d rather be. My soul felt fine letting someone else pilot the trip. It was a journey of great heights, after all, and who was I to complain about the course charted for me. I purchased the ticket; I was fine with the destination.
And then the layover happened. I’ve stood. I stretched. And it felt so good. I remembered how my body moved. I remembered what it felt like to walk and then run. Neither were as quick as flying, but flying kept the wind away from skin. I loved the wind.
Which person is more me? The person who has spent years huddled, or the person who gets off the plane? Which person is really going places?
There are moments, days, weeks, when I remember who I am. It comes so clearly and so vividly, I can’t deny the reacquaintance. It’s like a homecoming celebration; an open armed embrace. I’m convinced this time I’ll stick around. This time I’ll be strong enough to stay.
But the moment passes. And life calls. And people aren’t used to seeing me stand tall. It makes them more comfortable when I’m small.
And so I curl my legs back up. I slide back down into a connecting flight. And I wonder if she’ll be waiting for me again, or is this time terminal?
I don’t have the magic of making it last, but I do have the magic of building landmarks. Places of remembrance. Permanent markings that remind me of my ever-so-fleeting meeting.
I’m struggling to live my own life as me. But at least one of me will win the fight.