My sister would much prefer to travel without wings. You can see her aversion from her definition of an airplane: an aluminum tube of doom. Where does she get this fear? Certainly not from our mother who would hop on a plane anytime anywhere if it allowed her to travel. My sister Sue, on the other hand, can probably count the number of times she’s flown on an airplane on one hand and even this would be one time too many.
I’ll never forget when she visited me in Houston. Her flight back to Detroit was scheduled for the late afternoon, and I thought the day would never end. Nothing could calm her down. Not music, not food, nor shopping. We even made a special trip to McDonald’s for french fries. We got this item in the drive thru, so we could take it to the nearby ice cream shop. We made it to the ice cream shop, but my sister could not eat. It was even hard carrying a conversation with her because her thoughts were imprisoned with images of plane drama. We sat on the cement curve in the hot humidity of Houston. My ice cream melted fast, so I absorbed it with her lukewarm fries since she wasn’t eating them.
I believe things have gotten somewhat better for her over time, but there’s still anxiety as she and I prepare a trip to North Carolina to visit our other sister. First of all, she pondered a trip to North Carolina for Spring Break but sat on that thought until my text arrived saying I needed to visit a sister by April 9, which was the expiration date on a travel voucher. She took my text as a sign, allowing my two sisters and I to concoct a trip via airplane to North Carolina the week of April 3-9.
Her gracious and patient husband booked her a flight with his free Delta miles, but even this took some time. There could be no layovers or plane changes on her flights. Any idle time was out of the question. Her flight had to be direct with no down time, so she could get it over as quickly as possible. Another strategy up her sleeve was to create a playlist of cool tunes to absorb her mind as she flew.
I met with my sisters via Google Meets the other night, and I knew the trip was set. My aerophobic sister was ready to fly…
and she did!