Tears At 38,000 Feet

I love the song “Il Mondo” by Jimmy Fontana. I saved all other renditions on my playlist. Particularly, I loved Il Volo’s take on it the most. It was my go-to song whenever I needed a good cry, a much-needed purge. It takes me back a painful memory, but it’s all good — it still is my favourite song.

It was about a couple of years ago.

It was about a couple of years ago. I was young, and also very in love. He and I were both out of the country, visiting different places. He flew out right before I did, and so we stayed in touch through WhatsApp. The place I was in had really bad satellite service and so I didn’t hear anything from him for about 2 weeks.

I finally got to a hotel on the second last day of my stay. I went straight to the WiFi and of course, my phone blew up. Over 30 unread messages, along with about 7 missed calls. My stomach wrapped itself in and it was then I figured. My heart sank as I knew what was about to come. I have lived out this possible scenario countless times in my own head. It must be it.

I replied, and immediately got a response,

“It’s my parents, I’ve got to leave by the end of next year,”

I took a deep breath and stared at the final two words of that sentence,

“for good.” 

I shut my eyes. That was it. I did the math. The odds of this happening has always been a hundred to one. Yet I stubbornly deluded myself into believing the opposite. There was no escaping the fate of our relationship. I felt my lung inflate in my chest, waiting to burst any second. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream. But I couldn’t. With deep and heavy breaths, I typed.

“So what are we going to do now?”

It was a dumb question because I already knew his answer. The red flags and warning signs have been posted everywhere. Still, I clung onto the hope of a miracle. But what else was I to say?

“I don’t know, I think it’s best to end this while we still can.”

That night, I waited. I waited for the world to fall asleep. It was about 3.10am. I got up, locked myself in the bathroom, and cried. And boy, I cried real hard.

I blamed myself. I saw this coming and yet I so willingly allowed myself to fall so deeply for someone who was never meant to stay. I blamed the world for separating us. I wept so hard my temples hurt and it’s like the back of my head got shot.

On the flight back home the following day, I sat by the window. I waited for the cabin lights to dim, and for the person beside me to fall asleep. I turned towards the window, blasted the airline’s top classics and the opening to Il Volo’s “Il Mondo” came on. I turned my head to the window and by the time the chorus came, the tears kept flowing uncontrollably.

That night, “Il Mondo” became the song of my first heartbreak.

“Il Mondo” is an Italian song and it translate to “the world”. The song is bittersweet. It’s about loss and eventual acceptance; the world continues on despite all that may be happening, good or bad. No matter what happens, night and day will still come, and a new dawn will always await us. Our struggles, no matter how big we may think of them, are nothing compared to the grandeur of the world. Somehow that brought me comfort.

“Il Mondo”, airports, and airplanes are now bittersweet memories of the past, that provide me much solace and hope for the future.

And that was a little story on how a girl cried to her favourite song, 38 000 feet up in the air.

[This article is also published on Medium]

2 thoughts on “Tears At 38,000 Feet

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