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Flight through fog

The plane chased the sunset across the ocean, the last rays of orange glow finally fading as it landed in Chicago. The connecting flight was delayed for an hour and rising: there was fog up ahead in Des Moines.

The day I learned that I really did need a credit card of my own was once when I was an undergraduate, traveling from Hartford via St. Louis to Des Moines, with my grandmother. The flight took off, circled a fogged-in Des Moines for an hour, and then flew back to St. Louis. We were rescheduled for a flight the next day. Because the delay was weather-related, the airline took no responsibility for our overnight. If I hadn't been with my grandmother, i wouldn't have been able to pay for a hotel for the night. Thus I was convinced that the same thing would happen again, presuming we ever actually left that night.

The flight was smooth, the airspace between the snow storms edging in the continent. The land below wasn't - a blanket of fog covered it over. As the plane came lower for imminent landing, there was still no land. The odd patch of glow lit up the grey beneath. Given how low we had to be, I'm guessing at least one of them was downtown.

We came down into the fog, a torrent of liquid cloud streaming by the windows with nothing below. And then - the first lights. Streetlights, widely spaced, the ground now close beneath, a few roads across, and then we touched down, with an eighth of a mile visibility to spare.

The airport was hushed with cancellations. The streets were shrouded with water droplets, illuminated by the ambient light reflecting off of the snow. And I didn't spend the night in Chicago.

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