The stewards patrol the aisles militantly, politely barking at us to prop up our trays, straighten our seats and pull up our window shades, failure of which will cause the plane to spiral madly out of control, leaving all of us screaming and ruing the twenty degrees of economic chair tilt that we indulged in, almost the certain cause of our plummeting death.
It is as I release the window shades that the sun streams in to the plane cabin and squeezes my eyes close.
I open it again, and we are hovering just slightly above the clouds. Five years ago, I would have marveled at this incredible sight, but now experience has dulled the child-like fascination with flying.
How did I get here? How did my eyes and brain get used to such a sight as flying as not to be amazed by it any more?
When I was younger, air travel used to be a novelty for the family. Yes, we would drive interstate on our family vacations and there were times I sat in the carriage of the train in my travels to Singapore, but I was almost twenty-one when I took my first ever flight. We traveled as a family to Melbourne to watch my brother graduate.
Here I am, thousands of miles above the earth, having a view once only belonging to birds, a view that Icarus would have given his left wing to witness, defying gravity and all I can think of is 'meh'.
It is in this moment that I choose once more to let the little boy out again, a small smile etched on my face as we pierced through the cotton fields in the sky, almost feeling the brush of vanilla fairy floss on my face as we plunged through the puffy blankets, our vision momentarily blinded before the earth burst before us below, all different shades of green and brown and orange.
The natural chaos of the forests had been manicured by human industry into palm oil plantations and residential houses. Far-running rivers and roads dissect the land into artificial territories, and below us a million Malaysian stories are unfolding, a million rituals are kept and all these rush at me at once and tell me that I am home.
'Rows and flows, of angel hair,
And ice cream castles in the air,
And feathered canyons everywhere.
I've looked at clouds that way.
But now, they only block the sun,
They rain and they snow on everyone,
So many things I could have done,
But clouds got in my way.'
Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides Now'.