Night flight

Every night I take our dog Kita out to do his business before he goes to bed. While I wait I watch the last few flights in and out of Sydney. They cruise overhead, mostly quietly, sometimes with a roar. Domestic flights, international flights out to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Tokyo.

I’ve been on some of those international flights. I find it near impossible to sleep, so I am inevitably exhausted for a few days at my destination, especially when there’s no access to your hotel room upon arrival, it being too early to check in. Yet I am a creature of the night, so I still dream of those flights.

The quietening airport as it winds down for the night, corridors of silence, a landscape of coloured lights outside. Taking off into empty skies above a city falling asleep, but still bright with amber and neon. Flight attendants moving stealthily through a dim cabin. Gliding serenly over moonlit carpets of cloud and flat seas. A sky rich with stars ordinarily invisible to those living in cities. Flying into an Asian city that never sleeps, locals still eating at food courts and on scooters in the streets.

In Australia my flights in darkness are usually when returning home to Sydney. I would rather be on business arriving late, luxuriating in the peace of the airport before going straight to the hotel and relaxing after my flight, feeling the weariness that inevitably accompanies flying.

So I look up at those flights overhead and imagine that I am looking out. Perhaps I can briefly spot the lit up garden, the man waiting for his dog to finish. And I imagine an adventure beginning, not a day ending.

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