My terror of flying has always amused my family; they only told me on one occasion that they dim the cabin lights for takeoff when it actually happened, at which point I was digging my finger nails in horror into my father’s arm, genuinely believing that the plane was about to nose dive into the ground. 9/11 didn’t particularly assuage my fear; it wasn’t the idea of the plane being hijacked but more not being able to shake the images of buildings being blasted by fireballs and plumes of smoke shading the sun.
But yet I still decided to go to Australia and as my then boyfriend couldn’t come with me, I went by myself. I simply booked the flights and then panicked afterwards (Danielle may be right about doing things before I take the time to think them through properly). A week before, when the worry about doing something as drastic as flying as far away from home as I could get had properly set in and I was unable to sleep a wink, I went to the doctors.
The temazepam he prescribed me had the desired effect. I got on the plane at Heathrow, took one, woke up half an hour before landing in Singapore. I then did the same on the Singapore to Brisbane leg, and before I knew it, I was there! Brilliant.
Although my hatred of flying has calmed, it is calmer in the sense of a small child who has thrown such a tantrum that they are sleeping, simply because they cannot scream or shout anymore. My fear lurks just under the surface, bubbling so that if anything slight happens, like a cancellation, delay or baggage loss, it threatens to break free and dramatise the whole event.
Yet I adore airports. I love the feeling of not knowing where the multitude of people are going, and I love picking someone up and arriving a bit early, watching families reunited and lovers back in each other’s arms. But my favourite thing is to watch the planes take off and imagine where I could be going, letting my mind drift to far-flung beaches and swimming in little sea caves. You can never run out of places to dream of.