April Michelle

Flight 1410 - Poem by April Michelle

A few words about my secret trip out west...

Adventure is what she craved. It had become essential to existing in her day-to-day life. For her, a sweet southern wild child from Texas; possessing a sense of extreme independence spiked with a dash of adventure would be the only guide she needed for an exciting mind-altering weekend. Though her pretty little heart was consciously sitting on jagged rocks, her mind was strong and she would escape to sunny California in less than twenty-four hours. Armed with a stiff new Masters Card, her bags were packed chock-full of clothes with tags still attached, hair and make-up set to flawless perfection; she was leaving town late Friday afternoon and would arrive in Dallas to board her much anticipated 10 o'clock flight to Los Angeles.

Navigating the international airport in Dallas proved to be more challenging than she had originally expected. Stressed but excited she patiently waits for her group to be called. Among the crowd of crying babies, stepford wives, and oversized families, she wondered if anyone ever noticed she was traveling alone. Boarding what looked to be the largest Boeing 747 she had ever laid eyes upon; feelings of turning back raced through her body. However, gripping a giraffe printed carry-on filled with books and a blanket, she sat patiently in her seat waiting for the other passengers to board the plane. Soon realizing that for the next two hours and fifty-five minutes her seat would involve sitting quietly between two Asian men, she silently referred to her situation as 'the Asian man-which” and as most inexperienced travelers seem to be, she was oblivious to which armrest was hers; thus leading to plenty of awkward Asian man-which moments.

Arriving at Los Angeles International Airport or more affectionately known as 'Hell AX' to the orphaned teenager two rows behind her, she was unexpectedly caught off guard by the hustle and bustle of the thousands of airport passengers. She could only help to feel a rush of excitement so grand and so intense; this is a moment she had anticipated. Dancing a tiny dance on her way to the baggage claim carousel, taking a slow deep breath she though, 'am I really in California? Am I really standing in one of the largest airports in the world? ' 'Ahhh yes' was the only response her mind and her body could agree upon. Her only lifeline during this adventure would be her iPhone. Pulling a zebra print suitcase through the packed out terminals, she arrived at The Westin Hotel shuttle only to be greeted by a van that reeked of smoke and practically ran over her tiny toes squeezed tightly in a pair of beige Charlotte Rouse heels. Reaching down to load her suitcase, she unexpectedly felt the rough touch of the shuttle drivers hands as he shouted, 'I got it lady, I got it! ' Confused but willing she allowed the short stocky Puerto Rican man to take her bag as she took her seat. Startled by the mass of people squeezing systematically into the hotel shuttle, she carefully took a seat next to a small girl who seemed too infatuated with the grimy material that covered the shuttle seats. As The Westin Hotel was grew near, this time she promptly unloaded her own luggage just as the shuttle driver sped away to his next stop at the luxurious Holiday Inn.

Impressed by the brilliantly lit water fountains and gold plated tile, never once had she second-guessed her decision until now. Standing tall and in her best posture, the hotel concierge quietly said to her, 'Madam your check-in is not scheduled until tomorrow, I'm afraid I have not a room available for you tonight.' Feeling the wave of confusion that was approaching her, she asked the concierge to check his computer screen again. As chance would have it, her first night in California would not take place in a luxurious hotel room. Annoyed and on the verge of tears, she kept her calm cool demeanor and returned to the Los Angeles International Airport via the shuttle which yet again provided awful company along with a horrid smell. Arriving at the terminal where her flight landed reality hit her and from this moment the tears would flow freely well into Saturday morning. Crying only big girl tears and feeling the pain of her high heels, she thought to herself, 'Where am I supposed to go? ' Just then as luck would have it, a young man who had been watching her cry and pace in front of the security doors offered a piece of advice, 'If you are going to stay overnight at this airport I would suggest you walk two terminals over and stay in the international terminal'. With no hesitation, she took off her heels, straightened her dress, fluffed her hair and began walking toward the international terminal.

Arriving at the international terminal, she knew instantly why he gave her such advice. Filled with gift shops and restaurants a plenty she made her way to the second floor where she realized she would be spending the night in a world that was completely out of her element. Lined with artificial palm trees, liquor bars, Prada and Dior vending machines, and of course, a McDonalds her first thought was to find an outlet to charge her phone. After discovering a cellular charge station, she took a seat on a nearby green metal bench and miserably watched her phone charge. Over hearing a couple next to her discussing their recent flight to California from Singapore, she thought, 'I am just a girl from Texas, what the hell am I doing here.' After maneuvering her suitcase into a pillow, she found a way to lie down that would require holding her phone while it continued, charging at the charge station and keeping a solid hold on the handle of her suitcase. Out of her element and not taking any chances, she would do as all the other passengers did, and keep a hand on all of her belongings as she tried to get some sleep. After a tried and true attempt at getting an hour or two of sleep, she was woken up by what sounded like a British man who had been raised in Hong Kong. The robotic voice of the loud speaker continued with, 'Welcome to Los Angeles International Airport located at 1 World Way Los Angeles California 90045, now leaving the International Terminal Gate 22c We are now boarding flight 1523 Los Angeles to Tokyo.'

Well into the early hours of the morning, the flight announcements continued every 15 minutes without fail. And every 15 minutes she thought to herself, 'Could this be a dream? ' and every 15 minutes she realized it was not a dream but a reality. With a smile on her face and her big green eyes wet from tears, she hoped and prayed that her morning, which would come in a matter of hours, would welcome a fresh start to her California adventure.

© 2010 April Michelle

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, April 11, 2010

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