1. first flight

the couple next to me played gin
as her cigarette burned in the ashtray between us
it was my first time ever on a plane
a charter flight from
Minneapolis to London

the flight was exactly
as I imagined it would be
I wasn’t the least bit afraid
my parents and my baby sister saw me off

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t
get to walk the tunnel into
the plane as I had seen so many others do
we boarded from the outside
so I had to climb the stairs
directly onto the plane

mom snapped a picture of
my sister and me just before I boarded
capturing the plane in the background
I had just celebrated my nineteenth birthday

for the next month I would be completely on my own
no rules, no curfew, and no schedules
I was free to explore life and to just be me

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