(Author’s note: Such great responses from everyone for last week’s piece. I will respond this evening, I’m just dealing with a lot of crunk related to winter camp here. Hope to have more coming up after the camp is done. Otherwise, here’s a good one, being written while the moon is starting to eclipse…)
Peter Brislin couldn’t contain his excitement at seeing the beautiful new plane that was pulling off to the side of the terminal. The young 8-year old was so excited to see the brand new DC-10.
“Ain’t that a sight, Petey? Big ol’ plane for my big ol’ boy,” his mother said, grinning all the while.
“Is that what I will be flying on today, Mama?”
“Yes, you’ll be flying on that type of plane. You’ll be going to places that you would have never dreamed of while here.”
Peter looked on with excitement, holding his suitcase with his clothes and toys.
“Will you be going with me, Mama?”
“You’re going ahead of me. I will be on a later flight, as I have to finish things here.”
Peter looked up at his mom and smiled.
“I can’t believe I get to go on that plane!”
After waiting for another hour for their plane to pull up close to the terminal gate, the big DC-10 with the large Northwest Orient Airlines banner across the top.
Peter’s mom walked with her son out to the stairs and slowly helped him up the stairs. After they reached the top, she waited next to one of the stewardesses. Peter waved at his mom as he was led to his seat by another stewardess. He buckled in, and his mom smiled a sad smile as the other people filed through the plane.
“Your son is traveling alone today?” the stewardess asked her.
“Yeah, I’m sending him to his uncle and aunt in Portland.”
“You’re not going with him.”
“He’s going to a…a better home. I can’t provide for him here.”
The stewardess looked at her, and noticed the small bruises on her face, covered by a large floppy hat on her head.
“I understand. I wish you could go with him.”
“I wish I could too. I just can’t, not when I have another little girl to protect from the man I married.”
The mother gave a brown paper envelope to the stewardess.
“There’s a note on the front. That’s for the head stewardess. It tells her what needs to happen, and how he needs to get led to where his aunt and uncle will pick him up at the terminal. It also has important papers that they need to have. Guardianship papers.”
The stewardess took the envelope and put it under her arm.
“I’ll do my best to make sure he gets to his destination safely. I’ll even check with the pilot to see if we can do something special for him.”
The women bantered for a few minutes, solemnly. Once all the passengers were on board, the time came to seal up the plane and get ready for takeoff. His mother walked down the stairs and stood far off to the side, looking for her son in the plane. She saw a small hand waving on the plane, and she waved back, tears now flowing down her face.
It would be the last time she would see him.
On the plane, Peter smiled as the plane started taxiing to the end of the runway. The stewardess that talked to his mother came up to him and smiled.
“You must be Peter.”
“Yes. Mom told me I’m not supposed to talk to strangers. But you’re helping me, and you’re nice, so you’re not a stranger.”
She chuckled at Peter’s insistant declaration.
“Well, Peter, my name is Tanya. I will be helping you and the other people in this plane, and if you need anything at all, let me know by pressing this button over here.”
“Could I have a soda?”
“After we take off, I’ll get you what you want. We’ll get you to Portland safely, too.”
“Okay! Thanks Miss Tanya!”
The stewardess smiled, but as she left Peter’s seat, her face betrayed a sadness that no one else could see. The brown package that she had under her arm was now placed in a secure spot on her seat. She would help get Peter where he needed to go.