Choosing Paradise over City Life – Taking off My Shoes: Extract from Chapter One

Taking off My Shoes

From what he could see, all passengers had boarded the jumbo-size plane. He looked out the window, pleased he was positioned to see outside. The allotted flight time was just over seven hours so the view would alleviate any form of claustrophobia that often attempted to infect him when on a journey of this length.

‘Excuse me,’ said the lady sitting beside him. He turned to face her.

‘Do you mind if my son swaps seats with you to sit by the window?’ she said. ‘He was really hoping for a window seat.’

His head flicked to look out the window before he turned back to face her. ‘Sure,’ he said and began unfastening his seat belt.

‘Thank you so much,’ she said.

‘That’s alright,’ he replied as he got up, and squeezed out from between the rows of seats. The boy of about ten years of age, who was already stood in the aisle with a nervous smile on his face, jumped across his mother and took his new place.

He nodded at the child as he took his own new seat beside the aisle and fastened his safety belt. As the child peered out the window, he could see his inflated cheeks protruding, indicating his pleasure.

‘Thank you ever so much,’ said the woman. ‘What’s your name?’

‘Chris,’ he said.

‘What do you say to Chris?’ said the mother, prodding her son.

‘Thank you Chris,’ said the boy.

‘That’s fine,’ replied Chris.

It wasn’t long before the plane’s captain made announcements and the vessel was flying out of London Heathrow Airport, soaring toward JFK New York.

The night before, his friend had reassured him: ‘no matter what, when you hear that roaring engine, you’ll be excited.’

Chris had guaranteed to his friend that his mind was in such a strange place, he wouldn’t recognise excitement or any positive emotion. His friend protested.

The engine started. The growling of the plane’s mechanics had commenced.

Chris’ face remained blank.


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