Success is a simple measurement of the commitment, sacrifice & pain one endures to achieve a dream.
Panting. Grabbing onto my backpack and running around the departure area, trying to find GATE 17.
Boarded. Finding my seat. Oh, there at the front row by the window at the economy section.
I was excited and anxious for the whole new journey that was awaiting for me. While I try to make myself comfortable, I fiddled with my surroundings like a child- clicking the light button repeatedly, playing with the cigarette ashtray only to find pieces of dried gum inside. I knew it was going to be a while until I find myself on a plane again.
Five minutes before lift off.
Passengers adjusting into their seats. The sounds of storage compartments clicking, weights of their heavy carry ons, flight attendants helping with a hush tone and passengers’ bickering that filled the limited air were slowly dying down.
Four minutes left.
I am on a non-stop plane from Hong Kong to New York. (That’s 15 hours) As my mind rambles on it’s own, it slowly hits me who and what I’m leaving behind. Home. Geez, I’ll miss the apartment my family and I have lived in for the past 18 years, especially my bedroom. I will miss the sweet subtle perfume my mother always wear. The worn out leather jackets my father loves to collect. I felt queasy as the “soon-to-be-homesick” thoughts ran through my mind.
I pulled out my backpack that was securely stored underneath my seat, took my childhood pillow out, and held it as tightly as I could. The seatbelt sign lit up with a ding sound, the lights dimmed as the safety video played. The airplane was starting to move on the runway.
I embraced the pillow, clenching it tightly. Quick flashbacks of home filled my mind: my parents, my brother, best friends, and just all of “home”. I remembered the big farewell surprise party they organised for my 18th birthday, first drinks, first job – all the memories, tears, and laughter.
I inhaled and exhaled again. The entire aircraft was trembling. The growing growling sound of the engines made my heart beat faster. The only images in my head were the last farewells at the airport from my family and friends. My eyes were fairly swollen from tearing up when they announced the last call for GATE 17 departure. I have said my goodbyes. Now the plane is angling at about 15 degree.
My chest sunk for a split second. I slowly opened my eyes with tears streaming down my cheeks. I looked out of the window and saw the Hong Kong islands below me. I whispered once again, “goodbye.” Inhale, exhale.
This was originally written on her moleskine book in 2012.