I arrive at the small city center airport and show my ticket to the young man at the tiny check in counter. He offers me a slip of paper—my boarding pass.
“Where’s your luggage?”
I hold up my briefcase. “Just this. Carry on.”
He shakes his head. “Oh, no. You can’t take that on. You have to check it.”
Part with my briefcase. I think not. My workshop lesson plans, my toothbrush, my glasses, my wallet are all in there. Life’s essentials for this trip. “But, I need this stuff.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of it.”
I put my wallet and glasses in my coat pockets and with fingers crossed hand over my precious case. I read the paper in the tiny airport lounge while I wait for my flight. Through the window, I see my young man loading the luggage into the back of a very small plane. Yes, my case is there. Relief.
“Boarding!” The young man calls from the doorway and we passengers line up promptly. He takes the tiny bit of paper—er, I mean boarding pass—and leads us across the tarmac to the plane. “Watch your heads,” he says as we climb the steps. We hunch over and make our way to our tiny seats, one row on each side. Looking down the narrow aisle, I see the luggage held in place with a webbed wall. Yes, my briefcase is there. Relief.
I choose a seat and squirm my way into it. Good thing I’ve been dieting. Definitely no room to stash a briefcase. Barely enough room to stash my feet.
Our young man squats down at the front of the plane and does the flight attendant spiel. Welcome aboard, fasten seatbelts, in case of emergency, etc, etc.
I’m sitting in the first seat a few inches away from the cockpit. Where’s the pilot?
“Ready for take off?” our “flight attendant” asks. We all murmur assent. Our young man does a squat turn, pretzels himself into the pilot’s seat, dons the headset, says a few words to the flight controller, revs the engines, and we’re taxing to the runway. At the end of the runway he stops waiting for permission to take off. He turns around, grins, gives us a thumbs up, and we’re on our way.