The back of the seat in front of me glowed red from the rising morning sun as the plane turned westward. I had a good view from my window.
Inbound traffic on Mopac was already backed up -- a trail of headlights extending northward from the lake. Morning rush-hour traffic from the north is always bad. But it was just past 6:30, so the inbound traffic from the south wasn't.
Our flight path followed Ben White Boulevard. I could see the street clearly, but from this altitude it was difficult to make out the cross streets. It looked so much shorter from the air than it does when you drive it on the ground.
I saw Mopac. And there was the Sunset Valley shopping sprawl. And there was the white cinder running track behind Patton Elementary and next to it the black track of Small Middle School where just a few years ago Ben started sixth grade, and it seemed then like he was no longer a boy.
If those were the schools, our house was only walking distance away. Yes, there was Westcreek Drive. And although it was hidden in the shadows of dawn and I could not see it, that was where our house must be.
I looked at my watch -- 6:41am.
Down below me in a house I could not quite see, there was Ben, eating breakfast too slowly, taking a shower too long, and not getting his clothes on fast enough. And there also was Trudy, trying to get things moving faster so that they could leave on time. And finally, there was a little black dog, wagging his tail and dashing from one end of the house to the other, thrilled with all the morning activity.
The airplane climbed higher into the sky. The cabin filled with the full light of day. And we left Austin behind.
Catching a red-eye flight
Austin to Denver
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