Five Down…Five to Go.

QF127 Zupp

QF127 (Image: Flightradar24)


Five kilometres down…five to go.

My limbs, heart and breathing have settled into that wonderful rhythm where the endorphins of the exercise gods are in control. The night is crystal clear and the brilliant moon almost casts my shadow with the precision of sunlight. With my hoodie pulled up over a baseball cap my black form could easily be mistaken for the Unabomber. Overhead, the Southern Cross keeps watch while the blinking strobes of a Canberra-bound aircraft appear to bisect “The Pointers”.

Step by step at ground level, my wife is at 36,000 feet somewhere over the South China Sea, bound for Hong Kong. She is in the Northern Hemisphere and I’m down here in the South. Her Airbus A380 left the equator hours earlier and the sun still shines on her world. My envy is double-edged – both to be with her and to be in the stratosphere once again. To further remind me, more flashing strobes fill the sky with one jet not far away. Track direct to Rivet and make a high-speed descent – I make a bet with myself that’s what they are doing. Will I make it back to the flight deck? The obvious question resurfaces and yet I am happy in this moment, my lungs are full of crisp air and the rhythm of my footfall relaxes me.

The music through my earpieces has Van Morrison reminding me to stay on the bright side of the road and that seems apt. Meanwhile, another voice tempts me to break into a run and yet another reminds me that recovery is a measured process, so I maintain my stride, my slow and steady pace. Kirrily is probably travelling at Mach 0.86 or better, the airflow slipping past the flight deck, her face lit by the glow of the setting sun.

To the outsider our working lives sometimes seem peculiar and at odds with each other. The truth is that we probably spend more time together than if we worked “9 to 5” and one of us has always been home for the kids. It’s been a life of juggling rosters and prioritising family over promotion at every turn. It’s been a life without regrets. I glance at my watch and mentally calculate where she’d be now – I reckon she’d be approaching the top of descent. Her journey is almost over and I am past halfway. She’ll be home again in less than 48 hours.

Six down…four to go.

Goodnight, honey.

A380 Zupp