Through Eager Eyes - Chapter 5

10:55 AM

Full of Wonder and Innocence, a Young Girl Romances the Sky

A Short Story by Dan Pimentel

(Note: This is the fifth of six chapters in this story. Check back next Weds, July 21st when I will present the final chapter, or click here to read all chapters after they are published - dan)

Chapter 5: Fantasy Has No Restricted Airspace

We float through the sky effortlessly now, and it is as if I'm indeed in Heaven, or at least closer to it now.

Above me lies a vast unknown, blue and inviting. I rejoice in the hue of the sky – it is a shade of blue that is reserved for aviators who pilot their elaborate machines above the layers of air closer to the ground that have been browned by the pollution of too many cars.

As Katy climbs higher, the city below is a maze of colors, a tapestry of designs woven together into one giant carpet of humanity. Oh how blessed we would be if the humans that attempt to coexist down there could be as perfectly intertwined in reality as they look from up here.

Our flight is progressing well, my gaze out Katy's side window takes my mind away to places and things I have never before experienced. Yes, apparently flight can do that. With a glance around Katy's cabin, I notice everyone has forgotten to keep watch on me for some sort of fear response. They are as immersed in this lovely journey as I am, Daddy is listening intently to DooDah up front while Mommy sits beside me, smiling and happy that I am enjoying the ride.

As the world slips by underneath Katy, I am taken into a trance-like state, and my imagination – which can get pretty wild – begins to take over my consciousness. As if lofted into the very universe aboard this dream ship, I am pulled into a fantasy that one can only experience riding the wings of an airplane. The drone of Katy's strong engine combines with the smoothness of the still air, and from this world I am taken into another, and it is beautiful.

There I am – it must be 25 years from now – sitting with authority in the left seat of an aging Boeing 787 Dreamliner. My quest to fly for a career has taken me to this place, Captain of a ship that has served my airline well. The Dreamliner entered service not long after my first flight in Katy, and today, the "eight seven" is the workhorse of every airline in the world.

But this is my fantasy, and this is no ordinary scheduled flight to a far away hub. No, today, on this very special dream-like flight, we have a cabin full of only VIPs, a collection of individuals related to me in a special way.

Throughout my life, I have had the privilege to grow up with a large number of special humans, the children of my Daddy's cousins. We all came into this world at generally the same time, and as my Dreamliner rockets through the sky, they have all come together in my fantasy to travel with me on my own personal adventure.

With the "eight seven" fat and happy at flight level three-niner-zero, I stab the autopilot and tell my FO to keep an eye on things while I make a tour of the cabin, something airline captains used to do back in the day. But since this is only my fantasy flight, I choose to take the opportunity to chat with this special collection of passengers.

I first sit and discuss the exciting upcoming 2035 New York City Ballet season with Rachel, who I have always been most jealous of if not for her beauty and grace, then for her intelligence. She has enjoyed a long, noble career as a prima ballerina, and now manages one of the largest, most important ballet companies in the world. She is seated next to her extremely handsome brother Zachary, who everyone knows was Major League Baseball's MVP last season. Unless you've been under a rock, you have seen that big Number 23 behind the plate for the Texas Rangers. He's on his way to Cooperstown today be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, carried there with his 678 career homers. Yes, Zach has always been a long ball hitter.

He is in deep conversation with his younger brother Sam, who is about as hip as anyone on the plane. Sam is the CEO of Curious DesignWorks, the world leader in animation technologies for film and television. After a number of years as a game changer working for Pixar, Sam bought a start-up animation studio and is busy re-inventing the entire 3D visual arts industry.

Across the aisle are two of my favorites on this fantasy flight, the darling Mia and her hulk of a brother, Joe. Mia is the brainiac in the group, and has been responsible for engineering a number of high-profile software breakthroughs. I have always admired her inquisitive nature – she has never met a question that she allowed to remain unanswered. We all know that her Oxford University fellowship was what landed her the sweet gig as V.P of Communications Development for Apple, Inc., and it is so groovy that this year, she had a hot new iPhone 12 teleported to everyone in the family!

Mia shares a first class row with her Man Mountain brother Joe, who clearly would not fit into even the wide business-class seats of the 787. Joe is a genuine gentleman, and stands to greet me and give me a warm, heartfelt hug. It seems almost contradictory to see that kind of sincerity coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers' 365-pound star left tackle. Joe has been the reason the Steelers have been crushing the league the past few seasons. It is breathtaking to see the different man he is off the field than on, when he is a vicious but smart tackling machine who has held the NFL's record for quarterback sacks every season since he was drafted in the first round from Syracuse University.

My fantasy flight is wonderful, I am surrounded with joy and happiness, as it should be in a dream. I move through the cabin and meet four more special people, making the non-stop from their home in Southern California. There is Adrian, who I hear is a top aerospace engineer these days, specializing in avionics technologies. One of the panels he has designed can be found in the Gulfstream 1000, a plush private jet that carries his brother Gabe around the world as the CEO of a family enterprise that owns three professional soccer teams. Gabe is a picture of success, having parlayed a career as a star midfielder into team ownership. He is joined on these trips by another brother, Enrique, who has enjoyed a successful career as a commercial airline and charter pilot but today loves his new role as Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot for the seven jets used to transport the soccer players who play for the family teams.

And of course, they are sitting with their lovely, exceedingly gorgeous sister Lilia, who is today the top-paid supermodel in the world. We all knew she would be beautiful the day we learned of that wonderful name that flows off the tongue like a perfect summer breeze, and as we have all grown up, Lilia blossomed into the one model every magazine fights over for their cover. And with good reason, her line of Lilia! cosmetics is now selling more product than every other brand in history.

Finally, I sit and chat with two of my favorite people, Ava and Julia. I cannot start my day without watching Ava on the country's hottest national morning show "America This Morning" on PNN, the Pete News Network. Some say she got the anchor gig because her dad owns the network, but that is hogwash, Ava is the girl every woman in the country wants to be, her on-screen persona is contagious! Always perfectly dressed, she is an study in female versatility, elegant and very professional. Her fitness comes from the years she spent as a girl roaming the country with her "joined-at-the-hip" sister, Julia as they checked in on the family's chain of Yoga Centers. I am forever amazed at how Ava looks equally hip in designer jeans or an evening gown, and we all know she has always been the quickest wit in the room. But it is Julia that is the focused one – she gets that from her mother – and can be ruthless in business despite being the clown of the family. When we have spent summers together in the past, it is Julia who cracks us all up. Yes, the apple did not fall far from the tree with this girl.

As I slip back onto the flight deck, the fantasy is becoming a blur. I am coming back to reality, back to Katy's cabin, back to a world where a city slips by quietly below. Mommy looks at me, and wonders out loud why I look as if I have been hypnotized for the duration of the short flight. What she does not know is that while my body sat motionless inside Katy, my mind was taken on a flight of fancy to a future world full of success and wonder.

And while I sincerely loved the dream flight my mind has just taken, I still remain enamored with the journey inside Katy, it continues to be one of bliss, contentment and adventure.

"Wow, this flying stuff is pretty cool," I think to myself, as I ponder what path I must now take to get into that Dreamliner's left seat, for real.

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