Taking Flight By Ella O’Rourke Coláiste Chiaráin Co. Limerick Today is the day. The butterflies start – more like resume – as soon as I wake up. My name is Luna, and I’m sixteen. I’ve lived with Chris for as long as I can remember – he adopted me when I was a baby. I’ve always known about being adopted; it’s just common knowledge to me. Meeting my biological mother only became a thought to tamper with a few years ago, and a few months ago, back in late February, Chris found her. Somehow. Her name is Cedar and we started FaceTiming; soon afterwards, she invited us to stay at her house in the Netherlands. Chris was doubtful at first – I think he was afraid of losing me. But I kept hinting and downright asking, and soon I got him to book our flights. It’s August now hence I don’t have to worry about missing any school, so we’re staying in Amsterdam for two weeks. Finally the day is here. From the moment I wake up, my mind is spiralling, terrifying questions stacking themselves in looming towers, threatening to topple over and crush me. I tend to be dramatic about these things. All of the possibilities have been running round in my brain since I first talked to Cedar, and now they’re running faster and wearing scary warping masks. I am utterly terrified. But strangely… excited. I tried to sleep on the plane, but surprise surprise, my head – my messy, messy, head – kept me awake and gnawing my fingernails. When we land, I almost back out. I almost turn to Chris right away and tell him I’m just not ready. I close my eyes. I feel Chris put his hand on mine on the arm rest. I lean back and look at the back of the seat in front of me. “It’s okay, don’t be scared. I’m here with you right now. I always will be,” he says softly as people start moving to get bags from the luggage hold, pulling on coats and holding their children’s hands. I feel like a child. My mind is racing, I don’t even remember reaching my arms out to him, but he hugs me back tightly, firmly, almost like he’s pulling me away from something or saving me from drowning. When we let go, I know I’m as ready as I’ll ever be with Chris at my side. We’re standing in ‘Aankomsten’ – Arrivals – where Cedar should be waiting for us. Cedar. Mom? No, that feels wrong. I’ve only known her for six months. She’s just Cedar. The woman who happened to put me up for adoption. I’m staring straight ahead, because I know that looking around or looking for Cedar will just make me more afraid than I already am. After a few minutes, we hear a voice calling our names from a few yards to our right. A light, laughing voice, a relieved and happy call. I close my eyes, which seems to be my default action in stressful situations. I feel Chris move away from me. I can do this. I open my eyes wide and paste a huge smile on my face. I start walking toward Cedar and Chris. The second I see her, my smile becomes real. Before I know it, there are tears on my face and streaming down my neck. I’m running, laughing, the whole airport disappears and all that remains is Cedar, with her nose just like mine and her bright green eyes like mine, and the way her forehead creases when she smiles. Just like mine. Then we’re hugging, locked in an iron embrace. I’m nestling into her shoulder, still leaking tears, and she smells like home and nostalgia, she feels like comfort. She pulls me at arm’s length away from her. “Hello, Luna.” “Hi, Mom.” The word comes easily to me.