The line of man-made stars was there to greet him every night as he walked home from his late shift at the Kellogg Plant.
He’d look up at them, give a smile and a nod, and start counting.
It was the late night FedEx stack. Cargo planes, stacked up one after another, mile after mile, waiting to land at the airport.
He counted how many flew over him as he walked home. Sometimes it was just a few. Around Christmas, it was dozens. Sometimes they flew close enough for him to feel the wind swirling off their wings. Or at least that’s what he told himself when the breeze would kick up on those summer nights.
As he walked, he would think about all those packages on those planes, and all the places they came from and went to. It made him feel more free.
Not that he would ever travel like that – he got scared taking the bus, which is why he walked to work – but it made him feel better about life, knowing that there was that kind of potential in it. It meant the world was something manageable.
Just like counting the planes in the sky.
I lived under the FedEx stack for several years. You’d see it build around 9pm or so, and it’d go on straight into the wee hours of the morning. There were nights when I’d just sit on my porch, watching the lights move across the sky.