Things I Miss

I Never Thought I’d Miss Airplanes

My phobia of flying has been replaced by something bigger

Mari Andrew
Published in
6 min readApr 15, 2020


Illustrations by Mari Andrew

InIn my old New York City life, the one that no longer exists, I used to watch planes fly one by one, in a stoic parade on their way to JFK Airport. I’d wonder about the people inside: some going home, some landing in a foreign place, some who would soon be sitting at a deathbed, some about to get too drunk a wedding, some who’d sleep alone in a hotel on a lonely business trip.

I miss doing that. Now, when I see the occasional plane (I counted only three yesterday), my shoulders tighten. Nobody on that plane gracefully soaring over Queens is nervously going over their slide deck for a meeting in the financial district. No one is going to do the electric slide with their distant cousin at a wedding; nobody is going to their first Broadway show; nobody is going to meet their long-term crush at the top of the Empire State Building.

I assume now that every passenger on the plane is escaping something. Then I think of the crew, and my heart breaks for them — their job instability, their exposure to risk, their families at home awaiting their call at the airport. I miss the pleasant neutrality with which I used to gaze at the sky. I miss being able to look at a plane and not worrying how everyone on…