Home header left
| Login Help

 

 

Tom Jona

BEYOND THE POINT OF NO RETURN

We were closer to the East Coast than the West, over Iowa perhaps, somewhere beyond the point of no return when the pilot’s voice came on suddenly, a bit rushed, ordering us to return to our seats immediately and fasten our seat belts. It was a quick announcement, hastily done, nothing about approaching turbulence. We were in it already.
I looked out the window and saw a giant lenticular on my left side, one of those you always pointed out to me with respect, apprehension and some vague hint of fear in your voice.
“You know those are so powerful that they can shake an airliner or a jet fighter to pieces. You would never want to get close to those. Ever,” you said once pointing to the cloud in the distance.
I didn’t quite believe you but you were the expert and I always listened with interest. I really liked flying stories.
I have planned for a long time to be away on the anniversary of your death. I didn’t quite know where I wanted to be, just away, at an airport, in the air, in a city I have never been before. I have always felt detached, but comfortable and at home in the moving crowd of travelers. I wanted to get the day behind me as fast as I could. I decided on the spur of the moment to go on this trip, to get away.
Since you died, every time I flew crossing the continent at 30,000 feet, I felt you closer. I felt I could just reach out my hand, touch you as you were close somewhere hiding behind a cloud.
I wondered whether you saw the lenticular (I am sure you must have) and whether you knew I was on board. You would have done something to steer us away. But you didn’t and we were right in the middle of it. The giant 757 was working its way through it; its powerful wings shaking the same way your Libelle’s were when you were flying in turbulence over your favorite hunting ground at Mount Diablo.
It didn’t look like we could go around it. We were heading right into it. We got right into the murky tunnel of this soupy cloud. The coffee jumped out from the bottom of my paper cup, slowly making its way into my shoes. I didn’t care.
I watched our struggle through this tunnel staring and hoping to see something or someone on the sidelines taking a shape in the cloud formations; a window, a door, a gate or perhaps you.
But I didn’t see anything. Just miles and miles of white soupy substance. It seemed like endless hospital corridors. All I could think of were your final hours of hazed struggle, your going in and out of consciousness, struggling through your own lethal lenticular, the one you could not avoid and once in it, could not come out of alive. It took you and shook you to pieces until there was no life left in you.
This is how I pictured your last days of struggle, working your way through a tunnel with me sitting on the sidelines watching you helplessly as you had to fight it alone. There was nothing I could do.
“I am doing really well,” I have kept telling my friends during the last year.
“Wait until the first anniversary comes,” they warned me. “That is going to be difficult.”
They were right. But it is over now and I am entering the second year. The turbulence is behind me. There is peace and smooth flying. We are landing in a few minutes.

Posted: 10/1/2004


Final Glide 

Search Posts

Recent Posts

Legal Notice

The SSA policy on member posting is located here