I’m really wondering how his fifty minute flight home to the Midlands went. You see, Pete had never flown before and he was petrified. When I told him that the ride home that evening would be smooth compared to his rocky flight to Scotland on Tuesday (riding along with Hurricane Katia), he was incredibly grateful. “Thank you, for that,” he said with intense sincerity in his voice.
We didn’t talk every minute of the trip. Truth be told I wasn’t in the mood to carry on any usual kind of conversation with a stranger, but Pete was different. I offered him some Scottish shortbread, which he idevoured. Every so often he would bring up the flying issue. He wanted me to tell him all about my first time flying. Was it bumpy? Was I scared? I had to admit that I had no recollection of my maiden flight; I’ve been flying as long as I can remember, and I love everything about it. I was no peer for Pete. He was still petrified and all I could offer was reassurance that the ride home would be smoother than the ride up.
At the airport I met Pete’s buddies, definitely long time friends who were helping him fulfill his dream to climb Ben Nevis. I have the sense that it was Pete who led the climb, but it was his friends who held him up as he faced his fear of flying. I was privy to a transformative moment in Pete’s life.