The plane is vertical. It is running parallel to the mountain it is climbing. I am sitting next to my father and I feel safe. Planes are not built to fly this way but it felt natural here. It felt thrilling but comfortable. The modern yet technically archaic plane ran on propellers. It had a sleek exterior all white and built for speed. It had a glass bottom. As it climbed the mountain my father and I could see the life in the grooves of the mountain’s jagged edges and slanted surface.
There was a creek with shimmering, flat stones perfect for skipping. The edges of the creek were made up of rocks and dense tropical nature. There were so many different shades of green, there was no way I could mistake it for one dimensional. The different greens portrayed a depth only possible in dreams. A boy stood in the middle of the creek. He was naked and free and happy. He played with nobody other than himself. I noticed 4 hawks hovering over the boy. They were unmoving, in the air. Their wings did not stir. They were motionless, yet still airborne. The boy knew their presence. He did not fear them. I feared for his life, thinking the hawks were hungry and hunting, but then I realized the 4 hawks were protecting him.
The airplane with the glass bottom moved past the boy who was alone, but not lonely and continued to inch up the mountain. We passed a man holding a goat down. His coat was black and white. The goat did not look frightened. He looked calm. And in that calm instant his coat became saturated with a deep red, and his life floated away into the sky along with the 4 guardian hawkes.
We passed men in shops with everything. I wondered to myself where everything came from. We passed women beating laundry clean and cooking for their families.
A treehouse was built in a tree reaching towards the sky. It was in the shape of a hand as though wanting to grab the stars and the knowledge that comes with holding them close. No person could handle this awareness, but it seemed that many craved it. 4 travelers were sitting in the house within the hand eating kebabs and doners and pides. They found their comfort and familiarity surreal. There was one man and three women all wandering all in love with life. The man had a large red beard and art covering most of his body. At first glance this artwork looked peculiar. When inspected further, I noticed it was animated. His inked skin was dancing.
The girls asked “Which was most painful.”
He lifted his black tank top to reveal a galloping horse. It was elegant and free. “This one was done in Thailand without the machine. It was done with bamboo. It hurt. It hurt quite a bit.” He said trying to be calm while remembering the experience. The horse was not unhappy that the galloping was not productive. He would always be on Bonsai’s rib cage, galloping in place. But Bonsai would go everywhere.
Laura laughed easily. She was kind and calm and amiable yet she had a courage that I wouldn’t expect of her. Many would call the origin of this courage stupidity, but she was not a fool. She was simply optimistic. The four travelers separated. Bonsai with his dancing tattoos and Laura who laughed easily and the other two. They would never see each other again. But that instant familiarity would never be forgotten.
The plane settled back to a horizontal position as we peaked the mountain. The greens and pebbles and guardian hawks and the not lonely boy and the busy women and familiar strangers were left behind. What was now in front of us was the sun. Right in front of us. We were headed right for it. We would be the first people to walk on the sun and fly amongst the clouds within the pinks and purples and oranges of the sky.
I woke up to the sound of my parents going through their morning routine. Their voices sounded like poetry. The coffee smelled like luxury. I waited for reality to settle in, but it never did.