My uncle climbs into the pilot’s seat and digs into a black bag on the floor, “here, put these on.” He hands both of us head sets and puts a set over his ears as well. “Plug them in here,” he points to a place on the dash in front of me. “And here,” he shows Ricky where to plug his head set in the back, Ricky’s only about four inches away, even as small as we are we take up all the room.
“Ready?” my uncle asks and we hear him through the headsets. Both of us nod. Both of us look a bit uneasy. A commercial plane with a bathroom and dinner trays is one thing – this is very different. I feel a little gurgle in my stomach. “There’s some bags in the pouch on the door,” My uncle says, like he can read my mind and then he starts up the engine. Without the headsets we would not be able to hear anything but we hear my uncle speaking to the tower telling them who he is and requesting instructions. The little plane starts to move slowly across the blacktop. My uncle gets it lined up where the tower told him to and then the noise from the engine increases dramatically, the plane almost immediately leaves the ground, and points almost straight into the sky. I can hear Ricky giggling in my head set and it sets me off too. My uncle has to turn off our microphones in order to have another conversation with the tower when he turns them back on we are still giggling. The plane levels off far above our town and my uncle does a long sweeping turn around the whole town, including the houses, and ends the turn with the plane pointing west. In no time at all we see the ocean and the long strip of sandy beach. The little tiny beach towns take almost no space at all. My uncle keeps heading west, we pass the boundary between land and water and he continues west until all we see is water in every direction. I reach for the bag in the door and then decide I’m okay without it.
“Neat huh?” I hear my uncles voice in the head set, take my eyes off the ocean and look over at him, he’s grinning, all excited watching our expressions.
“Amazing,” Ricky and I say together, it sounds weird in the headsets.
“My favorite place in the whole world,” my uncle says as he turns the plane in a long wide turn and ends pointing back to the east. We talk a little, my uncle points out a few things but most of the time we just float through the air high above the world.