“Please ensure your chairs are returned to their full and upright position, that your seatbelts are fastened and that your tray tables are stowed away”
I had managed to secure the window seat when my travel buddy got up to use the bathroom. It meant I got to watch the strange shapes that clouds make from above. As a boy I took it as gospel that it was possible to bounce on top of clouds like in Peter Pan or Mario, depending on your cultural viewpoint. Neither seemed to apply as the plane started to descend and my ears began to pop.
I was on my way home from five days in Malta, five long days away on business. I was in suit. I’m never comfortable in a suit even if I tried to make it look entirely natural as I stalked around the duty free selection of the departures lounge. It had been a hard graft being away and I was pleased to be home but as the clouds broke apart around us and I caught sight of London I felt like I had locked eyes with the love of my life from across the room.
I have made no secret of the fact I struggle with my mental health. That still applies. I’m currently medicated and in therapy but my god that flight made me feel thankful for a number of things I hadn’t taken stock of in a long time. Descending into London is really something magical. It’s the stuff of legend, both EastEnders theme tune and the opening scene of The World Is Not Enough, to my mind one of Brosnan’s top three outings as Bond. London to me is still a city where the streets are paved with gold. In a more literal sense they are paved with chuggers, Pret and scuffed brogues but we aren’t talking about that.
As the plane headed towards the capital I couldn’t help but smile. I’ve been really lucky. I had been to an island I hadn’t visited since I was six months old. I was returning to my own place. I have a job I love. I have people I love all around of me and who seem in varying senses to get me. I have a whole league of things ahead of me this year to look forward to. I was left with the strange sensation that everything was going to be alright. The knot of anxiety I wear around my neck near enough constantly wasn’t with me on that flight, maybe it was in the luggage I had checked in but I certainly didn’t appear to have carried it on. I felt breathless and weightless and fantastic.
I wanted to log that somewhere, the sensation that despite all the shit we all go through, it’s worth it for, what Jules in Pulp Fiction refers to as a “moment of clarity”. It made perfect sense at the time and I hope you get them every now and then too because they make everything flow a lot better from that source.