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by [Eliora ]

2004-11-16  |     | 


It was our first Aeronautical course and we ; the novices “knowing everything“ about all flying objects ; felt very important.
Our first professor was FISH (his nickname was running so long in the University, that nobody knew any more his real name).
Fish was a rather small man , with large blue eyes behind the black-framed glasses which gave him a much too serious appearance.
He was easily excited especially when it came to airplanes.
Fish’s words still haunt my memory:
“If you want to learn about planes you must do it by heart!
“Imagine the plane; as a big fish!”
and Fish, with a large gesture drew a vertical line in the middle of the blackboard.
“There are so many similarities between the fishes and planes“
he continued writing on the blackboard …
“Food system here - fuel system here; blood system here hydraulic system here… Here is the heart of the fish , here the engine … “
“Does the plane give birth to small planes or is it multiplying by roe? “ somebody make fun in auditorium.
The professor’s passion for planes and fishes was well known in the University. Each generation of students adds something to this folklore.
Some years ago, the professor was presented by an aquarium with a gold fish. On the aquarium’s side was noted:
“When I’ll grow I’ll be an AIRPLANE“.
A few years later (another generation of students) attached to aquarium a miniature airplane model with a note
Now remembering those days I am quite sure that Fish was “ the perfect match “ to that serious , precise but so cold Aeronautical Institute.
Verging on the ridiculous, he managed to implant in each of us, a passion for planes; a passion for flying.
When, a few years later I heard about his retirement I felt sad for all the students who will miss the ardor of his lessons.
I went to that AIR SHOW not too determined. Actually the trip to Paris seamed more attractive that the show itself. I rescued Fish from a firm’s representative who proudly explained how the rocket of “HIS FIRM“ may destroy half of mankind in half of a second earlier than the concurrence’s rocket.
“Oho! My favorite student, prettier than ever!”
A few minutes later, sitting by a cup of coffee, in a rather empty cafeteria he started:
“Now you must tell me all about you!”
I started to enumerate all my achievements: my slow but sure climb on the leadership ladder in the Institute which was considered “the pride of entire Europe” , about my chic apartment, about my car …
Fish’s face seamed bored.
“Something’s wrong? “
I asked…
“It’s all wrong; oh pardon… I have no right…“
“But you have! “ I urged him to continue.
“Well, how shall I put it ; you see every human being was born with a gift, a unique and very special present .It is very difficult to discover what’s yours, but , each of us sooner or later …”
“Or maybe never!“ I murmured…
“Yes maybe never, but if you will not try; you will never know! “
Fish went silent for a while.
“You see, this discussion reminds me about my long conversations
with Saint-Exupery at “the edge of the sky“ as he used to say …”
“You! You met Saint-Exupery !“ I jumped by excitement…
Saint-Exupery was my favorite author and it was HE who influenced me to choose a profession in the aeronautical field. I felt tears in my eyes.
“Please, please, tell me more about him!”
“We worked for a while in the same hangar” Fish continued …
“By night sitting by the fire, we have long discussions about planes, birds, constellations, and also about the light of small villages so difficult to trace (we need them as a prove that we hold the right route), and then, they were only a few, not as we have now…”
Suddenly, I remembered: “half of mankind in half of a second“ and shivered.
“The life was so simple then, the people, the relations … later I found many themes from our discussions in his CITADEL .
It was Saint-Exuppery who told me that IMPOSSIBLE is only a word in the dictionary and afterwards…”
Fish paused again.
“Where we were? Oh yes with each one’s gift. You see, I discovered mine through the lessons from the Polytechnics, there were so boring so dull, so far away from the airplane’s world…”
If I kissed him on his cheeks there, in the cafeteria, I don’t remember, I only remember that I wanted to.
What course would my life have taken if I would have not met Fish at that show?
No, this date, probable appear somewhere in celestial constellation.
Shortly afterwards, a small announcement from the board, in our
Institute, caught my attention:
Not in my entire life could I receive, the bonuses which my boss was ready to give me, only if I would renounce to my “suicidal idea“.
In less than a month I was in HAMMERFEST. It was extremely cold, I spoke no Norwegian but it was a challenge.
I was in charge of supervising the airports of BODO, HONNINGSVAG, KABELVAG and ALTA but, my residence was in HAMMERFEST. I choose to live in a small hotel, not far from the Norwegian See. The Northern Environmental Research team was living at the same hotel, and from the very beginning we became good friends.
For the first time in my entire life I felt really happy, free from all social restrains free to be myself.
In no time I manage to communicate with the maintenance team in a funny English-Norwegian-by-hands language,
I never new too much about animals but now through my new friends I started to enjoy watching them and even play with a small polar bear who was receiving some treatment due to a small injury. At one of our evening meals, feeling sorry after finding out that we had had a rabbit, they gave me his tail .
“It will bring you good luck!”
One evening returning very tired to HAMMERFEST I couldn’t stop thinking to the warm fireplace …In my mind, I actually could hear the cracking of birch-tree logs… and dreamed of putting the wool socks on my frozen legs. I was returning from BODO where the Red cross plane was undergoing an important repairs and my presence was absolutely necessary there.
There was nobody in the hotel’s lobby. On my door a big announcement was waiting …
“We are on the beach, the whales come ashore Regards, Roger”.
My tiredness disappeared; running on the beach I saw several huge whales and by them all the Research Team along with other people trying desperately to push them back into the water. One of the whales was hideously huge.
“She’s pregnant and, she must give birth any minute; we may lose them both! “
The big eye of the whale was opened and she was locking at me as asking for help … Suddenly, I remembered that the maintenance team was still at work and I started to run faster, and more faster, feeling all the time the pregnant whale’s eye upon me …
The Red Cross plane was still there and wanting to explain as fast as I could… Why the words disappear exactly when you need them most ?
Luckily Patrick the pilot was a clever man, elsewhere…
“Climb in, by me“ and the engine started immediately to run after all the maintenance crew was inside.
We flew over the whales searching for a place to land…
It was already morning when all the whales were into the sea.
Among them, a smaller stream of water emerged… Yes, the cub was born . Suddenly the Fish’s face appeared in front of my eyes. Yes, he was right, actually, the little creature out there in the ocean was somehow THE AEROPLANE CUB.

Sonja D. Szimon

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