Within the 12 months that I’ve lived in Montreal, I can’t say I’ve made anything less than a time capsule of memories. From moving out of my parents’ house in Calgary, to paying my first bills (hello real adulthood), hosting Meatless Monday dinner parties (which were soon replaced by Wine Wednesdays seeing that “meatless” seemed to taste a little too much like wine), dealing with plumbing issues (aka exploding toilets) and crazy neighbours that do indeed wear their sunglasses at night, spending afternoons discovering the infinite pockets of authenticity that hide in plain sight, and finally meeting some of the most interesting and unique people without whom these memories would never have been possible.
While I’ve been lucky enough to experience some of the most incredible slices of life here in Montreal, I recently had one of the most jaw-dropping -body-tingling-heart-revving-once-in-a-lifetime-check-off-your-bucket-list experiences. I had the opportunity to fly a plane. We’re not talking about just guiding the steering wheel while the pilot controls the rest... When I say flying a plane, I mean driving it to the runway, taking off, flying over downtown Montreal, and finally landing it. Oh, did I mention all of this was at night?
Through the magic connection of a friend of a friend, I was taken to the St-Hubert Flying School. Windows rolled down, a mixed CD blaring Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros “Home”, leather jackets on like we were up to no good, and a highway lit up like a landing strip, leading us right to our night time aerial ride – the exhilaration was mounting with every kilometre we passed.
Our chaperone for the night, Damien, led us outside to the four-seater plane he had reserved. Little did I know that I would be in control of the 3 000 lbs of metal that stood in front of me. Before I could even begin to understand that I would be taking off, my right palm was pressing hard on the gas and my left was pulling the steering wheel towards me. The plane inclined upwards, the wheels had lifted off the cement and we were up, and we were flying. We toured the entire city, spotting the dome of the St-Joseph Oratory, the spread out greenery of McGill campus, the ferris wheel at La Ronde. Every light that twinkled from a thousand miles made the smile on my face grow wider and wider. I felt as if I was dreaming.
Just like taking off, I had no idea I would also be landing the plane. I immediately snapped back to reality from the haze of euphoria, and with a bounce (or two) we were suddenly back on Earth rolling into the hangar.
As I stepped out, or should I say floated out, of the plane my cheeks were aching from smiling so much, I couldn’t feel my fingers and my heart was beating a million miles a minute. But I didn’t care. I had just flown above my new hometown.
|One of the many “fly” rides among which we could’ve flown.|
Cat likes laughing, lemon martinis, and everything to do with the written word. She is currently studying in Montreal, where she says she has never felt as alive or as complete. You can find her on Twitter as @cat_fournier and read more of her writing on her blog http://www.pencilpoetics.blogspot.com/.