The Airshow


Thunderclap. Thunderbirds. Black tire-clouds waver in the air. Riding with my favorite Airman on a golf cart, weaving through the crowd from plane to plane. Parachuters drift across the skyline, filling the air like a tickertape parade.

The radio crackles: Body down. Near the treeline. Someone check on it. 'Preciate you.

Orange planes whine as they climb, spinning and feinting through webs of white.
I forget to breathe as I watch.
The wind bends towards us and we all disappear into a bank of exhaust.
Chaos ensues.
I try not to breathe as I watch.
People run into the smog with their phones up. A child stands, unmoving, and wails
when his mother drops his hand to document the whole thing.
Seconds later, the sky is blue again
and all is forgiven.

We clap.
It's nice to be forgiven.

I need to make a friend
because the military took my
pepper spray
But they won't take my
Visa card
And I need five dollars
For a Love Honey beer.

A green jumper with aviators come up on my right and pauses. I smile, and lead with, "Hey, you a pilot? Cool. What do you fly? C31 - the big one? Awesome. I'm Willa. Yeah, nice to meet you, too" and end with, "Got $5?"

The day grows suddenly warmer.

I follow the double yellow lines to my poet friend. She is in uniform, but still a poet. We sit on the concrete, under the shade of the Western Isles plane with a Chief painted on its side, and watch the people mill about. The air is full of energy, and the crowds are full of kids who spread their arms and dream of flying...Someday... Once they are tall enough to reach the pedals.

I dream about flying too…some days.

The afternoon is ending. The show is winding down. My feet hurt. I'd give $5 for a ride back to my car, if I had $5, and I find myself back where I began, just more tired...That's life, I guess.

I say goodbye to my friend and begin the long trek back to Row 33, when I think I hear my name. I turn. It's hard to pick anyone out from the clusters of camo and caps, but a shuttle is coming towards me with the window down. The driver leans out. I know him! "Hey!" I wave.

He slows. "Eh, Willa! Need a lift?" .
I smile. "Always."

God bless the Airmen.

ExperienceWilla Grey