Wills believed each country was a different planet, so when you travelled to a different country on an aeroplane, you would “leave the earth’s atmosphere” and fly through outer space. Now they were to fly to Germany the next day.
Understandably, he didn’t sleep well the night before.
During the journey to the airport he was uncharacteristically quiet. Once there, he felt approval at the seriousness with which bags, bodies and passports were scanned, for on the craft there must be nothing inappropriate or dangerous for outer space. Further solemn queueing followed, and boarding. He stepped over the threshold into the plane in deliberate fashion. Wills paid great attention to the crew’s presentation on evacuation procedures. After studying the emergency landing cards, he locked himself into his belt and enjoyed hearing that same decisive click repeated around him. Peering out of the porthole, he spontaneously waved (virtually) in restrained anticipation to the ground crew below.
Take off was good. First, the great power of the engines, then the acceleration overwhelming him and pinning him back to his seat. Slowly, certainly, the aeroplane climbed into the sky, leaving Earth behind it… up and through the clouds into the calm torquiose ocean of the earth’s upper atmosphere. He gazed out of the window, mesmerized by the bright, vast expanse through which this spaceship now sailed.
The descent confused and distressed him, making him question everything, the veracity of the whole experience.
He quietly asked his mother about it later. She explained kindly. Still, it was a disappointment to know.