Now who the fuck will keep this transatlantic airborne?
In Dubai, there is a room to seek absolution. Once, after coming in for a landing from Melbourne, I thought of entering but then I didn’t do it. Every airport has its place of worship.
In the airport where I flew my very first plane, there was a small room with air conditioning, which was nearly always empty: there was a blue chapel at the end of a corridor from where you could see the runway. I went there before each takeoff. It was for good luck, of course.
Flying did not affect me anymore. The first time is exciting and perhaps there’s a little bit of fear but then the ecstasy of seeing yourself taking off from the ground and being up so high reduces with time. After a while, you even get tired of airports and the flirtations with the air hostesses who flew with you. I don’t even know why I entered. I bowed my head, passing the doorway as if I were going through the door of a small plane, bending my torso and my head a little, to get on board. Once inside, I was disillusioned. There was a white altar with a large, blue, enameled cross and next to it a tabernacle also chromed in intense, very cold, cobalt blue. I touched the enameled cross with my finger approaching slowly, then I turned to look through the very large windows at the runway. There was a beautiful plane landing at that moment.
In a notebook left in the chapel of that small airport that day, I found something written by an unknown hand,
This blue, enameled cross is inspiring universal goodness, peace and health for our soul!
At the time, I gave it no importance, but I knew that at the opportune moment I would remember it. At the large theme park, Movie World, during our last wonderful vacation at the Gold Coast, Sylvie took an impromptu photo of me next to a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream shop, catching me by surprise. I was funny and Sylvie laughed at me. Only later did I realize that written on the sign behind me was, “Peace, Love and Ice-cream” It was written in cobalt blue. My soul, let me tell you, felt like it must have been torn from inside me and then exchanged, melted, remodeled and sold like they did with gold in Ballarat in the eighteen hundreds. Peace with oneself is like a plane taking off once only. “Don’t be late, your flight won’t wait!” I once read in an airport. Sylvie, however, when our last, marvelous vacation together in Australia ended, didn’t miss her flight. When she left me, I remained on the ground watching her take-off. I don’t know if there were many regrets.
Weight in Gold
by Giuseppe De Renzi
Translation from italian: Oriana Savron Trinchera