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Old 11-17-2006, 02:33 AM   #1
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Learning to Fly, Part 2

Here's the next bit, hope you enjoy ..

Learning to Fly, Part 2

I had made arrangements, via Siobahn, to meet Bono and Edge at the airfield, where they were to experience soaring without an engine. We had been fortunate once more, the weather god was smiling on us and provided a perfect day.

As I waited by the graceful sailplanes I had some time to examine the effect that the band, and Bono in particular, was having on me. The inner pilot lectured me on the foolishness of becoming attracted to someone I didn’t know, and at my age, too. Logical, maybe, but logic often has no place in matters of the heart. There was a definite attraction, and mutual, too. And I’m only a year older than Bono, so shut up, I told the inner pilot. And sometimes you just know, from the first time you meet someone …

I looked up as a group of people approached. It seemed that Adam and Larry had both come to witness the possible demise of half of U2. Bono and Edge were casting glances at the gliders, a little nervously. I walked over to meet them, putting emotional thoughts aside, focusing on my responsibilities as a pilot.

‘The gliders look, um, a bit small,’ observed Bono. ‘We will be able to fit in them?’

‘These are single-seaters, competition gliders. The two-seater trainers aren’t so small. Don’t worry, we make sure everything’s as comfortable as possible. Please, come with me for your briefing and weigh-in.’

‘Weigh-in?’

‘Yes, to make sure the glider is balanced.’

Bono frowned anxiously.

‘It’s OK, no-one else needs to know how much you weigh. Not that you have to worry,’ I told Bono quietly, keeping a straight face. Bono brightened a bit.

After the briefing and weigh-in we waited for the tow-plane to be free. Watching the plane take off with a glider attached by a cable, Edge was full of questions, so interested in all the technicalities, and eager to be in the air putting theory into practice.

When our glider was ready I helped Edge settle into the front seat, needing to adjust the rudder pedals for his long legs. ‘There really isn’t much in front, is there?’ said Edge, peering over the curved nose of the glider.

‘That’s what I like,’ I said to Edge from the seat behind him. You get a fabulous view in the front.’ I ran through the pre-flights and signalled to the ground-crew we were ready for take-off.

A tow-launch in a glider is quite gentle, we were soon airborne and climbing steadily behind the tow-plane. I released the cable and we were soaring high over the land, the only sound the soft whooshing of air over the wings.

Edge was soaking up information like a sponge, keeping his hands and feet lightly resting on the dual controls so that he could feel the movements I made to turn, level out, speed up, slow down. I pointed out the best areas for landing out if we had to.

‘We’ll head east, see if we can pick up a thermal,’ I said to Edge. ‘I’m handing the controls over to you now. You have control.’

‘I have control,’ Edge gave back confidently. He seemed to have a natural ability, flying the glider smoothly. I took back control and we picked up a thermal.

‘Whoo,’ said Edge as we gained a lot of height very quickly. ‘It’s like an invisible elevator.’

We got off the elevator on the seventh floor and set a course back to the airfield. There’s a point when landing a glider when all the quiet, seemingly slow progress speeds up rather alarmingly and the ground rushes up to meet you. And you have to get it right, no engine to take you up and away for a retry.

A deep sigh from Edge as we rolled to a halt. I hoped it was enjoyment of the flight and not too much relief at being safe on the ground again.

The ground-crew arrived to tow the glider home, Edge and I walked holding the wings level. All the others were full of questions and Edge became quite animated as he described thermalling. Bono took me to one side.

‘This guy came over and said there was a problem with the tow-plane and was it OK if we used, what was it? The winch?’

‘Right, a winch-launch.’ I said, absently, wondering if it was a good thing to subject Bono to or not.

‘What?’ said Bono, anxiously. ‘Is there something I should know?’

‘Well, it’s not as gentle as a tow, but you’ve done aerobatics in the Pitts so I’m sure you’ll be fine,’ I reassured him.

‘OK. I know I’m in safe hands with you,’ Bono said with a little grin, which made my stomach do a few loops of its own.

As I made Bono comfortable in the glider, I was getting dangerously distracted, being so close to him. He even smells nice, I thought, then gave myself a mental kicking. No time for woolly thoughts when you’re a pilot.

‘All set,’ I said to Bono, who had an amused look on his face. Do you really know what I’m thinking? I thought. Is it that obvious?

We prepared to launch. Cable pulling us across the grass, slowly at first, taking up the slack, rolling, rolling, then airborne, being catapulted up steep and fast.

‘Oooh, shit!’ from Bono, but no time to reassure him. Release the cable, lower the nose, no stalling at the top of the winch unless you want to turn this glider into matchsticks.

Sudden silence as we soar away.

‘Are you OK, Bono?’ I asked him with concern.

‘Uh, yes, fine,’ he said. ‘That was, um, well, sort of horrible, really.’

‘First time on the winch is a bit of a shock. I nearly threw up, my first one.’ I smiled at the memory, how I thought I’d never, never be able to fly a glider and how I hated the winch with great loathing.

‘But this is great, very peaceful,’ said Bono, as he looked all around, relaxing as we soared over fields and roads, houses and trees.

‘I’m glad you like it, Bono,’ I said truthfully.

‘What’s not to like? Apart from being twanged into the sky like a rubber band, that is,’ said Bono.

‘Some people don’t like the feeling at all, not having much between them and the air. I’ve had people literally screaming to get back on the ground,’ I said.

‘What do you do about that?’

‘Use the ejector seat.’

‘What?’

‘Land them as quickly as possible, and hope they don’t start grabbing the controls on the way down. I feel disappointed when people really dislike flying, but it’s not the right thing for everyone, I guess.’

‘If I had the time, I would learn to fly,’ said Bono.

‘If you want to fly, it will happen, when the time is right. I think Edge would like to learn, too,’ I said. ‘One of the primary goals of gliding is elevation - shall we get some air beneath us, see if we can find a few angels up there?’

‘I have an angel sitting right behind me,’ said Bono.

I was glad he couldn’t see my reaction. ‘That’s very sweet of you, Bono,’ I managed to say, ‘but, sadly, I am no angel.’

We caught a thermal and rode the uprush of warm air, leaving the earth far below.

*****

Evening at Sweetwaters, long shadows lying across the yard and paddocks. Time to review the day, a good day, flying with Edge and Bono. And afterwards, going for coffee at a tiny rural café, where hardly anyone recognised the band except for the waitress, who went away with autographs and a large tip.

They are such good people, I thought, so easy to be with. It was like having coffee with a bunch of friends, none of the up-themselves attitude that seems to go so often with celebrity.

The sound of the phone cutting into my thoughts.

‘Hello, angel,’ Bono’s incredibly sexy phone-voice. I sat down quickly as my legs temporarily forgot their purpose.

‘Bono. How are you this evening?’

‘Good, thanks. Are you in tonight?’

‘I’m not going anywhere.’

‘Great, see you soon then,’ Bono said and rang off.

‘Right,’ I said to the dead phone. What the heck is he up to now?

A while later Bono arrived on my doorstep with wine and a beautiful bunch of flowers. ‘These are from Edge,’ he said, ‘As a thank you. He went all shy about delivering them himself.’ The gleam in Bono’s eyes made me suspect this was not completely true, but I was very touched by Edge’s thoughtfulness.

‘These are really lovely, ‘ I said with a smile. ‘Come on in, have you got time for a glass of wine?’

‘Always time for that,’ said Bono with a grin.

I arranged the flowers while Bono poured us drinks in the sitting room. When I came in he was sitting on the sofa, and there was a little parcel on the table.
‘This is from me,’ said Bono. ‘Come and open it, Roo.’

I sat beside him and unwrapped a small box. Inside, an exquisite biplane made of crystal. ‘Oooh,’ I said, lifting the tiny plane up to the light. ‘Oh, Bono, this is just wonderful. Thank you so much.’

Bono was smiling hugely, so pleased that I was pleased. He took my hand, kissed it softly. ‘My pleasure,’ he said.

My God, I thought, he certainly knows how to make a woman feel special. Must have had a lot of practice, said the cynic inside me.

I met his eyes, looking for deception, conceit, mockery. Finding only honesty and gladness. I smiled uncertainly at Bono, who sensed my confusion.

‘I’ve gone overboard again, haven’t I?’ he said ruefully. ‘I just wanted to give you something …’

I gave myself another, severe, mental kicking. ‘Bono, this is the best thing anyone’s given me for ages. If you want it back you’ll have to fight me for it!’ I smiled properly at him. ‘If I looked confused, it’s just that I’m really not used to, well, to this sort of … attention.’

‘Larry’s always giving me stick about being too impulsive, but I guess it’s just the way I’m made,’ said Bono.

‘I like the way you’re made,’ I said without thinking. Realised what I’d said, blushed scarlet. ‘I mean, the impulsiveness …’

Bono laughed, knowing full well what I’d meant. ‘Roo, you crack me up,’ he said. He jumped up, startling me, went over and rooted through my music CDs. Came back and flopped down on the sofa as Peter Gabriel started singing. ‘That’s an interesting collection you’ve got there. Everything from Beethoven to Van Morrison.’

‘I think there may even be some U2 in there somewhere,’ I said innocently.

‘Ah, yes. I saw the bloody Joshua Tree.’

‘I love the bloody Joshua Tree.’

‘So do I, really,’ admitted Bono. ‘Hate it at times, though, too.’

I could understand that, in a way. ‘Is it still there, the tree on the cover?’

‘I heard it fell over,’ said Bono. For some reason this hit my funnybone and I got the giggles in a big way, which set Bono off too.

The damn phone ringing in the middle of all this merriment. I picked it up, wiping tears of laughter away.

‘Hello Roo, do you happen to have Bono there?’ It was Larry, sounding mildly pissed off.

‘Yes Larry, he’s here.’ I handed the phone to Bono.

Bono listened as Larry said something to him which was obviously not ‘happy birthday’.

‘Oh, yeah, sorry mate, I forgot,’ said Bono, looking guilty.

Larry expressed his opinion some more. Bono looked at me and rolled his eyes. ‘OK Lars, keep your hair on. I’ll be there,’ said Bono. He put the phone down.
‘I’m in trouble again, Larry’s been trying to get me on the mobile for ages – I thought I’d picked it up but Edge discovered it in the bathroom.’

‘So Larry’s been phoning the bathroom?’ I said, with a snort of laughter.

‘Yep. He’s not a happy bunny,’ said Bono. ‘I’d better go sort him out.’

‘You do that. And please tell Edge a big thank you from me.’

‘I will.’ Bono paused in the doorway, turned and kissed my cheek. ‘’Night Roo, see you soon.’

‘’Night, Bono,’ I whispered as he took off out of the yard. ‘See you …’
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Old 11-17-2006, 10:47 AM   #2
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Ooohh this is getting better and better. I really like this. More soon?
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Old 11-17-2006, 05:45 PM   #3
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Ooh I think one of my favourite bits is coming up soon!
MORE!
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Old 11-18-2006, 07:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 11-24-2006, 07:11 AM   #5
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mooore please
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Old 12-12-2006, 04:33 AM   #6
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Effanbee - You Goddess! You beautiful Goddess. I love it.
You've got a talent girl. The images you create as very accessible - I can see it all happening and thats a great thing to be able to do.
Not only is the story good, with great descriptions, it feels very... natural. I don't know how to explain it - but when I read it, the story seems to just flow, like caramel or somthing. It doesn't feel forced... it just feels like a natural outpouring - with a real homecoming feel.

Love it. Love it. Love it.

Bono... you bad boy, getting carried away with yourself. But isn't that one of the best things...?
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Old 12-13-2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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Ooooh, to be called a Goddess at my age! Luv ya BDiddyOno

Thanks so much for the positive feedback. The story did pour out of me in the nicest way, when the characters wrote themselves, put their own words forwards and I just needed to stay awake in the darkest hours and hold the pen.
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Old 12-13-2006, 09:52 PM   #8
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Effanbee you just made my hear stop!!! I thought, when I saw your name posting in here, that MAYBE you'd posted the next instalment....but NO!! Tease....

But yes, you're a Larry-hand-holding-goddess!!!
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