The wheat rolls for years off toward the mountains in the north and the blue-purple sky to the east and the exuberant and still rays of orange to the west. The evening sunlight sparkles in slow motion through gold-dust air and everything is quiet and calm and at peace. The plane has crashed, but the lives in it are not destroyed.
The journey started long ago in a city that our protagonists remember with slight and insignificant differences. The night was cold, he says. But not that cold, she says. They nibbled rich chocolate. They shared red wine.
Takeoff was slow, but that was ok because the runway was long. It was exciting, not only because it was new but because the wind at their head was sweet and warm, and the clouds were friendly puffs of white. They reached out and touched them as they sailed past. Her hair whisped in the wind. His eyes were closed. She smiled. He dreamed of the future.
The engine roared with the beating of their hearts. They surged from the clouds into the brilliant air above. They shared secrets; they exchanged gifts. She bought the tickets to the play; he paid for dinner. They made love in the lantern of the moonlight; they wrapped themselves in a million stars around.
But slowly they lost altitude. They saw the storms coming and they braced for them. But the rain weighed down their wings. They skimmed clouds they thought they had left behind. The arc of their love began to blur.
At this point, our protagonists disagree more significantly. The rain was heavy, he says. But it was warm, she says. We'd lost our way, he says. We had only begun to find it.
Here at rest in the calm of the golden fields, it is hard to understand why these things might have mattered. It is so beautiful here. It is so still here. The wheat rustles almost imperceptibly in a breeze that rolls across the gentle hills. It is like a wonderful kind of death—the problems are gone, the engine is quiet. Our love is at peace.
But the story continues.
They flew on for some time, and the sun still shone, and the moonlight still played in the pupils of their eyes, and the stars still crowded around to urge them on. The storms were few, the nights were cool and soothing.
But still, they sank, lower and lower in the sky. The engine roared with the beating of their hearts; but the beating of their hearts was not enough.
It was springtime when they first brushed the tops of these ancient fields of grain. They were too low. There was a forest ahead. They would surely crash.
They didn't crash, though. Their hearts beat faster and the engine roared louder and the plane lifted up over the fields and cleared the trees. They rejoiced in the shelter of their arms. They nibbled more rich chocolate and shared more red wine, and the engine roared with the beating of their hearts.
But the beating of their hearts was not enough. Soon, the fields of wheat were familiar. Time and again they brushed the tops of them, and time and again the plane pulled up. The engine roared with the beating of their hearts; but their hearts grew tired of keeping their love afloat.
The storms continued, and their wings grew heavier. The time they spent together now was in keeping the plane afloat. He would fix the engine; she would dry the wings. And every once in a while they would still make love in the lantern of the moonlight. But this love had a new flavor—one of sacrifice and doubt.
It was summer now. The heat buoyed their craft for a time. But this rich new light also revealed the deep wrinkles of time and effort that had begun to form on their faces. They had managed to ride easy for a while, but the storms of late were savage and they were tired of patching and fixing and drying. Their love was deep, but it takes more than love to fly an airplane.
And finally, at 2:56 on a cool Saturday afternoon, the plane touched down. The engine roared with the beating of their hearts, but it no longer mattered. By 3:00 all was quiet.
The wheat rolls for years off toward the mountains in the north and the blue-purple sky to the east and the exuberant and still rays of orange to the west. The evening sunlight sparkles in slow motion through gold-dust air and everything is quiet and calm and at peace. The plane has crashed, but the lives in it are not destroyed. Our love is at peace.