Jack wound down the car window and felt the gush of summer air strike his face. His hands held onto the sill as he edged his nose closer to the invisible barrier between the interior and exterior of the car.
In the winter he would press his hands to the glass and bring his nose closer, but not quite touching, so he could watch the condensation form around his fingers. Taking a deep breath he experimented with different exhalations, from close, pursed lips to wide, open mouth and watched it condense on the glass and evaporate.
The summer wind grabbed at his hair and ruffled it with wild abandon. Jack was forced to squint into the force of the wind as he approached the event horizon of the windowsill. He observed the muted scenery through half-closed eyelashes, frequently blinking to push irritants out. The tears trickled out of the corner of his eyes and he felt them dry in the warm air.
“You ok back there, buddy?” his father asked from the front seat.
“Yeah, Dad.” Jack withdrew his face and let the wind continue to rush past.
Across the sky a miniscule spot moved, tearing the blue, leaving a scar of white. Jack followed the scar backwards until it grew broader and broke up, absorbed by the blue.
“Dad, are they clouds coming from the back of the plane?”
“Sort of. They’re called contrails.”
“What are they?”
“Contrails are clouds formed by the exhaust from the engines or from the change in air pressure.”
Jack looked back at the receding white scar, raised his hand, squinted through one eye and held the aeroplane between thumb and forefinger. Dropping his grip on the plane Jack extended his hand out of the window and let the wind catch in the cup of his hand. His arm rose and fell, a weightless object supported by the movement of air.
Resting his elbow on the will he expanded his fingers, letting star systems slip through. The landscape formed a blurred universe, his fingers in focus, in sharp relief against the smudged greens interrupted by splashes of red, blue, white and black cars.
From the tips of his fingers he imagined contrails, forming slowly and drifting into the quiet pocket of air behind his hand before spun like spider’s silk into the slipstream behind the car.
“What’cha doing, Jack?”
“Learning to fly.”