The Pilot, the Witch, and the Hitman – Part 07
Late afternoon, weak sunlight unable to dissolve the shadows, Sam switched on a floor lamp and studied the two dozen aircraft pinned to a peg board leaning against the back of the couch. He checked his watch—two hours before his presentation and plenty of time to practice, get dressed, and load the car.
Several times he cleared his throat and began, not really satisfied with any opening. Arms wide, he announced to the quiet living room—“I know where it all ends, but how to begin?” He studied the red and white Taylorcraft, near the center of the board, the beating heart of flying, the plane his wife had liked best.
Sam may have forgotten their first ride together if it wasn’t for Gracie retelling it to their children and friends over the years. “We were right above the tree tops--so beautiful. And you know how your father can talk. Well, he talked the whole time we flew, pointing out lakes, people’s houses, roads, even our church where we were married.”
His heart sank thinking of his wife. “Gracie, you know I just need a good opening. God, I could talk forever after that.” She would have sat quietly listening to him. She adored him.
He walked to the center of the room and eyed each plane, now a ghost, and to Sam ghosts were mooches, always wanting something else, never satisfied, and surely never grateful. A man that could live several hundred years would be rid of his ghosts by his hundredth birthday, Sam thought. Mistakes made, lessons learned, and the ghosts of one’s past would evaporate, like morning fog before the rising sun.
Alongside the sky’s drama I began to hear the human one and started to write, letting the happenstance of strangers, friends, new places, and ideas dovetail into American Sky.
My uncle never cared for the faster aircraft, like his one friend’s sleek, twin-engine ship that cruised at 200 mph. He was content to push through the air at half that speed in his Cessna 150. What’s important is he knew what made him happy. I’ve always prayed for that very same kind of wisdom.