The Song That Changed Your Life
Leaving on a Jet Plane by Shell Ledrew
This story is on the shortlist for The Song That Changed Your Life challenge.
Video source: Youtube.
My escape came to town in the form of a flight attendant. She was beautiful, cheekbones as high as the sky ...she showed up in a 737 and wore a pressed pink uniform complete with pill box hat. It was the 70's. And she was cool. I'm talking Blondie, Debbie Harry cool. She was everything I imagined. And she was my aunt.
For the few days she was home, my life turned upside down. Stories of travel...glamourous women, dashing men...it was all so exciting and filled my head with thoughts of my own adventures, my own possible adventures far from my quiet Newfoundland home. Photographs made real the many stories and crew she worked with, who, when not winging their way through the skies working, were jetting off to some favorite little corner of the world. One photograph in particular caught my attention and never let go.
Just a simple snapshot in an old album of my aunt and another flight attendant sitting together in their jump seats before landing. From behind the bulkhead, the first row of passengers could also be seen. My aunt smiled at the camera. The image, frozen forever in ink and memory. The accompanying story was that the two had been singing and the passengers loved it...I could hear her voice in my mind...I'm leaving..on a jet plane..don't know when I'll be back again...
Her face. The captured smile and all her life in that still image.....it rang about it my head, my heart....so kiss me and smile for me....
The one image and it's soundtrack captured everything. She was beautiful, independent and seeing the world.
It was burned onto and into my soul. And I was changed forever.
Inevitably she would have to return to her world and my own would crumble. With a heavy heart I made my way up the old dirt road.. I would find her in the living room, seated behind her makeup mirror, her cigarette dangling between elegant fingers and polished nails. With an expert touch, lips reddened, lashes darkened, eyes smouldered and cheekbones were carved like glaciers.
At the airport, her airplane awaited on the tarmac, eager to return her to her secrets. Aircrew waved international hellos.
I stood and watched her walk away.
Saying goodbye was like the end of my life....
tell me that you'll wait for me...
Shell Ledrew is from Pasadena, NL.