Like a Bird.


"Like a bird on a wire, I will try in my way to be free" is what I said to myself before every launch. I said it in anticipation. Anticipation, for that unbeatable freedom of flight. For me, there was nothing else in the whole world but that. It could never last long, though. I had to have precise focus. Compass? Check. Nothing could distract me. Map? Check. 1,000 lumens flashlight? Check. Torch? Check. A single mistake could result in catastrophe. I stepped into the cockpit, trying to stifle my rising excitement. Control Surfaces? Working. Complete. Focus. Engines? All good. I went through my standard procedure checking twice, and then three times. I had everything down. But, of course, that didn't stop my nerves. The first solo circumpolar flight is no joke. What if I fail? What if I crash? Breathe in. Breath out. Relax.

"Control Tower, this is Lark. Am I cleared for take-off?" I said, grasping the intercom.

"Lark, this is CT. You are clear." He replied.

"Three. Two. One."

I hit the control with a shaking hand. This was one of the most important parts of my mission. I couldn't afford a single mistake. Gaining speed and acceleration, I willed myself to focus on the moment and let everything else fade. I was about half-way down the runway and yet at only forty percent of take-off speed...

"Lark, this is CT. What is going on?"

I didn't answer.

"I repeat, what is going on?"

I was coming to the very end of the runway by now. 85% speed.

"James, eject. Now!"

Focus James. Focus Hands firmly on the flight control, I pulled back. Hard. I took a small hit to the tail but just made it into the air. By the tread on my landing gear.

"CT, this is Lark. Preparing for circumpolar flight."

"Ha. God's speed James."

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