CESSNA 150 BY GEOFF COLLINS JVJ CREATIVE COMMONS FLICKR
“Anybody want to go up in my plane tonight?” Lesley asked with his usual, cheeky grin. “I’m a trained pilot and I have almost 200 hours under my belt.
Everybody said, “Not me,” as they continued watching TV in the Carey Hall living room.
That is everybody but me!
“I’ll go!” I said, “I love flying! Especially the take off!”
“Great, Kathy! Get your jacket and we’ll go before it gets dark,” Les said.
What had I gotten myself into?
The feel of the aluminum plane around my soft flesh added to my apprehension. I wanted to change my mind, but I didn’t want to interrupt Les as he did the pre-flight check before take-off. (At this point of my story I can't remember who the mystery person was that decided to go with us and took the seat up front with Les? Maybe you seminary friends can remember who it was.)
By the time the 150 Cessna was taxing down the runway and lifting into the air it was already dark and ice cold. “Kathy, get ready for your favorite part!” Lesley yelled back. Somehow, the taking off part in this tiny plane lost its thrill.
Dear God, I don’t want to die tonight!
“I’ll be taking us about 9,000 feet before I level the plane off,” he yelled over the noise of the single engine. “We won’t fly far. I just want to let you see the city at night from the air. It’s so cool up here!” Lesley chattered on as usual, non-stop trying to distract us from any fear we had, but he was too late. The more he explained how safe we were in a Cessna, the more nervous I became.
I forced myself to relax and enjoy the noisy ride and not think about how high off the ground we were . All I could see was the pitch blackness of night pressing in all around me. As the plane make a hard left turn, a big puddle of tiny, lights twinkled like stars down below.
Whoopi! Okay, I’m done! Let’s head back to the airport now!
Suddenly, the plane became bumpy! Les said it was just air pockets and nothing to worry about. When he circled the airplane around for a second look at the city from another angle, the plane became bumpy again and dropped several feet where I swallowed my chewing gum. Les leveled out the plane then checked out the control panel, assuring us that everything was alright.
“With all these bumps we might be having a little problem so, just to be safe, we’ll head back to the airport!”
Heavenly words to my ears, but will we make it back in time?
I breathed out a long sigh of relief, when we landed safely on the tarp. On the way back to the seminary I couldn't hear Lesley’s chattering over the ringing in my ears from the plane's engine noise. I think we were a little spooked about our flight, including Les.
Wes walked me to the dorm and we both went inside. The TV was blaring so we checked inside the living room to see who was in there. Nobody! “I’m going to watch the News before I head back to the dorm!” Les said, “do you want to join me, Kathy?”
“No, thanks, I’m very tired and I’m going to head upstairs. Thanks, anyway.”
“Sorry, about the ruff ride up there. I don't know what happened.”
“Oh, that’s okay! God was watching over us.”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
God's has good thoughts of peace toward us everyday. He wants us to be alive to fulfill His plan for us on Earth for His glory. I believe God helped Les to shallow his pride and quickly obey Him to go back to the airport. Maybe, we weren't in any trouble at all that night. Maybe God wanted to teach Les to obey Him and for us to trust Him when in possible danger.
The following Monday afternoon, I was back at work in the library. Sandy Storrie came in just like clock work and joined me at my table. Usually, while I re-filed misplaced index cards, he read or we talked. He smiled as he sat down and opened his theology book. He read about twenty minutes, then snapped the book shut.
“You wanna go to a movie with me tomorrow?” he said.
“Depends,” I said trying not to look surprised.
“Depends on what?”
“What about The Godfather?”
“I’ve already seen it and I hated it!”
“What about the Conquest of the Planet of the Apes?”
“Fine, I guess." I said, not wanting to appear anxious.
“Pick you up at 1:30, then?”
Sandy stood up, pushed his chair in and said he see me tomorrow and left.
“Wow, when you said you would pick me up! I thought we were going on the bus! Is this your car?” I asked.
“Yep! My dad flew in yesterday and bought it for me,” he said with a grin that melted my heart.
After he opened my door and slid inside, I said, “It has that brand new smell!”
“That’s because it is brand new!” Sandy said.
I wasn’t looking forward to seeing a talking ape movie, but I was looking forward to my first date, and maybe my only date, with Sandy Storrie. I still couldn’t believe he had asked me out. I made sure to act casual like an old friend so he wouldn’t feel like I was chasing him. He was the type of guy that had to make the first move, when and if he decided to make one. If things don't work out with Sandy like all the others, I’ll know I’m supposed to be single!
The movie was long and boring, until Sandy reached over in the middle of it and took my hand. The feel of his hand around mine caused something to swirl in the pit of my stomach. When he jumped, I knew he felt it, too. When the movie ended and we were in the car, Sandy suggested we go somewhere to take a walk before we grabbed a bite to eat at Bud’s Broiler.
He parked his blue Datsun and we walked on the boardwalk along the Mississippi River. The fall breeze blowing off the water was cold so we turned back. As we got closer to the car, I didn’t want to let go of Sandy’s hand, but when we stopped in the small parking area, he pulled me toward him. I looked up into his blue eyes, knowing what he was going to do. He didn’t kiss me once, but twice. And, then he kissed me again when he dropped me off at the dorm.
That night I asked God if He still wanted me to stay single since Sandy had asked me out, held my hand, and kissed me three times! I never heard anything from God that night.
* * *
After I finished writing MYSTERY PASSENGER I read it to my hubby, Sandy, so he could okay me sharing it with my readers and correct or suggest anything I had missed. Of course, the pilot’s real name is not Lesley. Sandy said my story sounded good and it needed no corrections as far as he could tell.
When I woke up today, I finally remembered who was sitting in front of the airplane with Lesley. Who do you think it was? Put your answer in the comment section below. Why do you think I forgot who it was?