"I've never had a fondness for planes in my entire life, Banner!" I insist, looking up at my crew mate of three years. Sometimes it's absolutely appalling how hard it is to get things through his thick skull.
"Too bad, Nae. It's too late to call it off now anyways," Banner looks at me sympathetically before turning and grabbing my over-sized bags. I watch as his hefty figure sidles out of my room, making his way down to the run strip. I make my way towards the door, which is dented from plenty of tantrums and accidents, and can't help but feel like I'm being ripped from my home yet again, only this time I actually understand what's happening.
Turning around, I take this tiny room all in. This has been my little house for eight years, it's where I've learned who I am, why I'm here, and where I'm going. Never did I think I'd be leaving. I can totally see myself staying here until I make it to my 80's. I would be the 'wise one' that young trainees would make visits to on Sunday evenings when they wanted pointers or just wanted to hear a good story. I could scold their trainers because I used to train them. Once or twice a week, the crew would all gather for lunch and we would reminisce about the 'good old days' as we exchanged funny stories and the occasional tragedy.
I can't help but feel I finally had everything figured out, and now I'm being thrown into another series of trials. Does that happen to everybody?
"Naomi? You need to get down to the landing strip! Plane's coming in 10!" Susumu yells down the hallway, shaking me out of my stupor. Susumu has a very commanding voice, which is probably why he is always elected crew leader. When he instructs, he does so in such a way that nobody could possibly hesitate following through with his orders. Today is no different, apparently, as I almost immediately turn from my little room and march down the hallway towards Susumu.
"Everybody is already out there waiting for you," Susumu explains as we begin to decend the stairs. The thought of having to say goodbye, even if it is temporary, is enough for my heart to crack a little bit. Time to say goodbye to my crew family and go home to a biological family I haven't seen for eight years. It's twisted.
Susumu seems to sense my somber mood, because as soon as we hit the main level, he reaches out and drapes his arm around me in a brotherly kind of way.
"Nae, we're going to see each other again. Ok?" I nod, still looking down. This is unlike me, to need to be lifted up by someone else. The crew and I pride ourselves on being very independent people who can work together in a way other crews never can. Susumu stops me right in front of the exit and stands before me, locking his eyes on mine.
"Naomi," he calmly begins, "I will do everything I possibly can to get you back with the crew as soon as possible. I promise."
What I want to say is, Don't promise anything. Promises scare me. However, if I've learned anything from this man, it's that he rejects fear. Another reason why he's such an amazing leader.
So instead I settle for, "You're a good man, Sus." He smiles at his nickname, and mumbles an 'okay' before turning and opening the heavy metal door to the bright light outside.