To his credit, Lan was able to make his way onto the small aircraft, having to duck quite low to accommodate his height. The puddle jumper only had twenty or thirty rows, with two seats on either side.
He only truly starts wavering when they get to their row, hesitating. He looks back at Saya, bent over as he is, questioningly. She looks at her own ticket, they were seated together, but hers was on the aisle. Lan wanted nothing to do with the window seat.
Saya hefts her bag up and into his arms and ducks into the row first, taking the window seat. Lan meanwhile manages to get their luggage in the upper compartments, before shakily lowering himself into the seat, his knees bumping up against the seat in front of him.
Despite the medication, Lan could feel the anxiety start to build in his chest and stomach, like a heavy lead ball radiating nervousness. Saya buckles herself into the seat and looks at Lan for him to do the same. When he doesn't, she taps the hand gripping the armrest with dread to remind him.
He nearly jumps out of his skin at her touch, head spinning to look down at her. She points to her seat belt, then him. Lan nods and rocks side to side a bit, fishing out both ends before locking it loosely in place.
She doesn't bother to get him to tighten it, at least it was secured. His hands returned to their normal, white-knuckle position on the armrests. He looks like a spooked deer, she thinks. She'd have laughed if she didn't know where it was coming from. Heights had never bothered her, but she had her own fears, rational or not.
Saya pulls down the window blind for his sake and turns to him. “Try.. closing your eyes. And breathing. And imagine you're on a car ride instead,” she suggests. “Like you said, it's one hour, five minutes of going up, five minutes of touching down, and then we're done!”
She realizes that she may have well been talking to a brick wall in his state, but he does lean back and close his eyes. Lan's grip doesn't let up on the armrests though, and his breathing starts to slow.
Up front, the flight attendants were pulling the door closed and sealing up the plane with a heavy thunk.
Once they were actually in the air, Lan was fine. Relaxed. Mellow, even, but it wasn't until the feeling of climbing up into the air was over that he exhales the breath he was holding.
Between the ground and the air, though, Saya tried her best not to stare, instead keeping an eye on him slyly. And it wasn't until this very day that she learned that yes, grinding teeth can be heard over a roaring engine. As he catches his breath, his jaw finally relaxes.
And with him, Saya relaxes too. Anxiety was contagious, it seemed, at least from him – she started to doubt the plane and the pilot's capabilities herself on the way up.
“Planes want to be in the air, right?” he asks, extending his fingers out from their claw-like grip on the armrests, wincing a bit. “Isn't that what you always hear? That you're more likely to die in a car crash than anything to do with a plane.”
Lan turns to look down at Saya, still under the haze of the medication but much more at ease now that taking off was behind him. There was the landing, but that was for later.
Saya nods, she always thought it was akin to being struck by lightning in terms of odds, but his car fact seemed more probable, even if it was rather morose. She points to the closed window blind, still looking at him. “Do you.. mind?”
Lan shakes his head, reaching up to rub his eyes tiredly. “No, no, go ahead.. the clouds.. it just looks like a floor to me when we're finally up here.” She raises the blind and is greeted with a wide expanse of fluffy clouds, and beyond that an open, endless sea she hasn't seen from this angle in quite a while.
“At least we have good weather for it today,” she murmurs, not wanting to think of what a stormy takeoff or landing would be like for him.
Now she's glad to have taken the window seat as the plane glides south, around the large pluck of Mount Fuji poking up from under the clouds. This view itself was worth the flight altogether.
She was doing what the federal holiday was made for, majesty of mountains and all that. The clouds seemed to part around the large mountain like a white fork on either side of the snow capped summit. Saya laughs to herself a bit as she remembers visiting it herself, and finding that they had the gall to sell canned air from the mountain, or so her translator said. She wanted to get one just for the cheeky aspect of it, but it was still spending money on.. air.
“To be honest, I haven't traveled with anyone in.. a while. Not for just a holiday, I mean.” He looks past her out the window, raking his hair back from his face before looking at her. “I mean, your holiday, my home visit,” he corrects himself.
“Even by ground?” she asks, and he shakes his head. “If I do go anywhere, it's usually alone. Besides, who would be traveling with me other than some family member? That would.. not be ideal.”
“And Reo comes to you, instead? Do you go home for.. other holidays?” To be fair, Mountain Day wasn't a very big one to travel for. She was thinking the end of the year, or golden week.
“I do, once or twice a year. I don't stay that long. I may not be on the best terms with my father and his family, but he's still my father.”
The way he said that made Saya a little sad, his family, he had said.
Not my family.
- a recovering disaster? / twitter: @rgdrac
apologies for everything about me, it might get better.
updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)
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