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“Can I have your boarding pass, sir?” Quietly, I give it to her. I get inside the plane and find the seat I am supposed to sit in. It’s nine thirty with the moon soaring high up in the sky. The sun had already set a couple of hours ago; it’s the moon’s turn now, he is the king of the sky.

The times were different yesterday and the days before. I was sitting on my balcony, looking high up into the sky, I was in a place surrounded by big and high mountains, with the Himalayas peeking from behind. All I felt was mild sunlight, with a gentle blow of the wind on my face, I heard the chirping of birds and the silent songs of the wind, and all I saw was a colorful place and the ballad of few falling leaves. There was no feeling of loneliness or nervousness

The giant bird starts to roar and I look outside the window and again inside. The only thing I saw in the moonlight was the pitch black runway below and a few glittering lights in a distant place. I’m leaving for the US and it’s a 30-hour flight from Nepal. The nearest I’ve ever been on an airplane was when I used to go to the terrace of my house and wave them “goodbye”. This is the first time I’ve been on a plane and I don’t know how I feel. I used to lie back on the ground and look high up into the sky. I would look at the airplanes and dream, how it would actually feel like to be in a place fifty thousand feet high. What would the world below me look like?  But now, I am nervous and afraid. I’m all on my own, I don’t recognize any faces inside, and I won’t recognize any faces outside when I see the sunlight next day. I will be somewhere else; I will be on my own and I will be all alone.

Somehow, I feel like an autumn leaf, falling gently from the tree and taking flight, dancing to the choir of winds, and taking different memories within. Making a flight to some new place where I’ll be all by itself or maybe I’ll get lucky enough to end up with some other autumn leaves.

The bird makes its first motion and takes its place on the runway and now, the moonlight is directly upon my face. I take a glance and the sky is filled with stars and the moon is gently smiling at the world below. After some time I was going to get nearer to the stars, I was going to be nearer to the moon, and I was going to depart from my home.

The airplane is now moving on the runway with a ferocious speed. Am I happy? Am I sad? I don’t know. Maybe I am just too nervous. Maybe I am a bit scared. But to my physical senses, I am glued to my seat and can barely move to bring myself near the window. A leaf makes its fall. What an irony it is for one to fly in a jet plane and yet compare oneself to a falling leaf.

A minute from the ground and I can finally feel free from my seat’s grip and now I am free to look outside. This is the closest it can be to see like a bird. Below, I can see glittering lights of vehicles and the city, I can see them moving and making a beautiful pattern in traffic. Glittering lights, making the view beautiful from above. I just smile because I am feeling like a bird taking a flight on a full moon night.  I am happy because I am finally being able to see something I have always craved for. I smile because it’s beautiful. The place I’m leaving is beautiful.

I lean a bit forward to see the moon and it’s still high up in the sky but it’s where it has always been. I thought I would be closer to it and I thought it would get bigger as I get higher but it’s all the same. It’s 10 PM and almost half of the world is asleep. I wonder if there’s another falling leaf in the economy class and I wonder if someone is thinking the same thing as I am, looking at the same thing as I am, and feeling the same as I am. I just wonder.

I reach the mountain heights and I approach the clouds. I am drifting. I am drifting both outside and inside. Outside, it’s the wind and the motion of the bird that’s making me drift. Inside, I drift between the thin line of happiness and sorrow. I am drifting in a storm of nervousness. I am leaving my home. I am all by myself. Even if I look around, there’s no face that I recognize. I am leaving my home. I am leaving everyone behind. The place where I spent eighteen years of my life lies right below me.

I see something I had never imagined I would see. The Himalayas behind those mountains were shining. The Himalayas beneath the starry night is something heavenly. I’ve grown up looking at those Himalayas, I would always find a cozy spot on my balcony and stare at them for hours. They looked happy in the sunlight and never had I thought I could see them in the pitch black nights as well. The Himalayas look even better in moonlight than the sunlight. They look peaceful. The scenery can touch your heart no matter how heartless you are. It can change the way you think and it can make you forget about everything else as long as you look at it.

Regardless of the pressure, I feel I am still finding a way to entertain myself. I am still trying to find a happiness that’s lost inside me but maybe that’s what life is all about. We need to find happiness in small things rather than panicking about the problems we have. I’m trying to be like the falling leaf. It falls to never be alive again yet it dances to the song of the winds until the last moment. I am learning to dance to the songs played by the winds and I am learning as I go about a falling leaf.

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A new place, an alien land waits for my arrival. The place which marks the end of my dance. The land that I’ll finally touch, making my each and every drift worth the time or maybe worse. I’m in despair as I await. The USA, where this leaf will spend its numerous autumn and summer, still drifting within the land and making some sweet memories within. The journey begins.