Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Girl with the Sunshine Smile

You don't get too many chances at happiness, not real happiness anyway. There's plenty of opportunities to do things that make you stop asking questions briefly; those questions that you're not sure you want to know the answers to.  You make the right choice about making yourself happy however, and it's like changing a wall for a window.

You've just got to be brave enough to make that choice and to make that change. Your life will change immeasurably if you let it.

This past weekend was my first away since before Christmas and, as always happens with these things, I was equal parts excited and disquiet. The event itself, ACB 29 in Warsaw, was really good and the experience was a great one.

Flying home however, was a different kettle of fish altogether.I'd had layover in Zurich for the day where I'd managed to keep myself occupied with a combination of my tablet and a very hospitable Starbucks.

My final flight was a quick hop across to Manchester but as I sat watching Threads, I saw the sky turn angry as I waited for the minutes to tick away.

The flight itself was largely without incident but upon descent into Manchester, I became very aware of just how windy it had become. I looked once out of the window briefly and then leant back with my eyes closed, listening to Copeland.

It had always been the best music to fly to I had learned; a swirling mix of vocal magnificence and scant beauty. I felt my stomach leap upwards and then down as the plane darted towards the runway but these nerves were soon quashed as the wheels hit the deck.

Inertia held me tight, like I imagine a friendly bear would as he evaluated my threat, but I was miles away somehow; ready for the gentle braking to replace the harsh braking and for everyone to stand up before the seatbelt sign had gone out.

It was then I realised something wasn't quite right. 

The harsh braking hadn't subsided and I felt more and more concious of a strange gaining of speed. I passed it off as nothing but, after a few seconds, ascertained that this wasn't the norm. I looked at the window to see nothing but clouds, a mirror of dark greyness that didn't seem to be thinning any time soon.

I looked around quickly to gauge reactions but amazingly, nobody seemed to be budging an inch from where they sat or from what they were doing. This was seemingly a common thing but in my head it felt anything but.

I'd switched my phone back on as we were landing, and managed to message Vanille to let her know I was nearly on Terra Firma but as we went back up I sent her another few messages. The problem is that only one of them sent; basically the one that said "The plane is going back into the air for some reason."

The subsequent messages to allay any fears didn't get sent as I ascended back into the great grey unknown, and therein lied the whole crux of my panic.

It wasn't about me. It wasn't about would I be ok. It was about her. It was all about not being able to see Vanille again. It was to about how she was coping with the limited information I'd given her.

I struggled for a second to cope but quickly realised my best shot was to stay calm and think positively. I hit the unlock button on my phone and was presented by the following image.

It's hard to describe what I felt exactly at that moment.

It felt like the feeling I get when I fall asleep in the sun or the feeling I get when I first come home at night. It's the feeling when she falls asleep holding on to me, and the feeling I get when my phone goes and she's sent me a message.

It was just a feeling of pure bliss and, at 20,000 ft on a perilous Sunday night, it was exactly what I needed to negotiate myself down from the heavens and back into the welcoming arms of the airport.

The rest of the journey home was relatively uneventful, save for an internal countdown that seemed to magnify the closer I got to being home.

The girl with the sunshine smile had saved my life once again and, as I lay in bed that evening, I held tightly in my head everything that had happened throughout the last few hours and tightly in my arms that which had made me brief brush with the uncertain so much easier.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the people in life who make us the happiest, contribute way more to the fabric of our being than they could every truly imagine. Every single day is an adventure but, save for the kindred soul of the perfect person, we'd simply wander aimlessly into the dark, without map or compass or more importantly the sunshine.

Until next time.
Take care.
Speak soon.


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