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A Tale That Began and Ended By the Light of The Moon

He was standing at the startup point on the runway, and I was sitting in the Air Traffic Control Tower. His voice echoed on the radio transmitter, "Juliet One-O-One Permission to Start." His handsome personality flashed in my eyes. "Clear Start Up Juliet One O One." I gave him the weather conditions in sign language and permission to fly his jet. The weather was cloudy, which was about to clear up shortly.

It was a coincidence that he was on flying duty and I was on a scope of radar in ATC doing my shift that night. Incidentally, our senior air traffic controller was also a woman.

"Girls, are you going to paint ATC in pink tonight?" He said this in a joking voice while taxiing his fighter plane.

"Sir, after completing the sortie, we will celebrate 3000 hours of your solo flying."

Sure, girls, tonight I am planning a surprise for all of you. And then he took off.

He was an officer almost nine years senior to me. He looked very serious, but his polite mannerisms and way of conversation revealed that he had a deep knowledge of life.

He did not look as old as he actually was. He had travelled the entire world. His brown eyes didn’t show the slightest hint of any pain that he was going through.

I had joined the Air Force just two years ago, and I loved the way he said, "Life is too short... "Love yourself" was his favorite phrase. He was unmarried, so he lived in the officer’s mess.

Emma is my roommate and an officer four years my senior. She says openly that, despite all his eccentricities, and despite all the rumours that have been spread about Rocky, she still likes him. I knew he did not like it because suddenly, that guy stopped coming to our room to play cards. He also stopped going to movies and picnics with us like he used to before Emma expressed her love.

"You annoyed him? Better, you tell him everything. "

Look, Neeta, I would prefer to look into his eyes and say, "Yes!" If you like me, I like you too, so say yes! Now I am sure that he is a hard nut to crack. He cannot love anyone but himself. "

Emma is beautiful, tall and attractive. I agree that she was no less attractive than Rocky. Anyone would feel happy in the company of that Air Force Medical Officer.

"You haven’t applied for a permanent commission?" I asked Emma.

What am I going to do in the air force if he isn’t with me? He hasn’t yet said anything. "

"Did you ask him?"

"Not in how you think. But he knows I am waiting for his answer. "

It was only last week that we spent some time together at our base station. There is nothing around this air base where we could spend our time. So we used to party whenever we could with loud music, dancing, alcohol, and food. We were in a party mood that day, too. Emma was at the forefront. First, everyone gathered at the bar. We were all in the mood to sing.

Somebody went and called Rocky from the squash court. He came and sat beside me and Emma. Emma sent me a message: "Ask him to sing." I smiled. Then he called the server and ordered drinks. All the bachelors hoorayed for his name.

Everyone was singing in chorus. Suddenly, he too started singing loudly.

I admired him, as it's an art to sing sad songs.

"What do you sing, sir?" someone asked him.

"My mother used to sing beautifully, as beautiful as she was. He took out his wallet from his pocket and showed his mother’s picture to everyone.

"Sir, sing a song for us," said a newly arrived flying officer.

Boys, this is a matter of passion. He waved at the waiter.

"It’s too early to eat, sir"

It’s time to close the bar, sir, said the barman. He lined up a couple of drinks for everyone and left. Emma took vodka. She raised her glass and started sipping.

I said, "Ema loves Emily Dickinson and she can sing her poems." After much persuasion, Emma started the poem with her sweet voice and amazing pronunciation.

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!- Emily Dickinson

Emma smiled and added

I can see you
by the light of the moon.

"Do you also write poems? Rocky addressed me.

Nothing special, sir, just a few words! "

Then I asked, "Who was that lucky girl, sir? "

He got up, leaving his last peg without drinking.

"Dinner sir?"

After saying this, he turned to face Emma and walked away. Emma deliberately ignored him.



I came back to the present when I heard the air traffic officer received a message from the mat office; the clouding is not getting diffused, but it could get thicker in the next forty minutes. Both the planes are flying in the sky. Give them a message. They should get down now.

I contacted him on RT, suddenly his voice echoed on RT. He was saying, "Juliet one-o- one calling gold fish." He wanted to contact the radio transmitter in sign language.

"Juliet One O One, go ahead."

"Roger... I’m countering IMC. Entering in Cloud. Handing 090 Climbing to nine zero." My ship is in instrumental mat condition, there are clouds in front, at 090 degrees I’m going up at 200 feet)

"Juliet one o one, gold fish... I’m getting you, correct your direction. Climb and maintain heading at level 350 and report leveling out. "

There was silence for some time, but what was visible on the radar was not right.

Juliet one zero one, you have overturned the ship. You need help with tools.

Oh no! Even ejection is difficult now.

I panicked and screamed when he said... "Juliet one o one reporting clearing clouds, I’m seeing stars..."

Stars? And suddenly, there was no sign of his plane on the radar.

"ATC and I were both looking at each other. On RT, an air traffic controller screamed, "Rocky, revert to the left and head up." Or straighten up, turn left and go up.

"Mayday-Mayday! Oh fu** it. I’m finished! "

He was abusing his jet, which was coming down fast, I heard his last words, "Hey Emmy, yes! Yes! "

Suddenly, the RT disconnected! All in ATC went to the tower. We all knew he had special disorientation (the illusion of direction while flying). He was not climbing into the sky. My hands got sweaty. I clenched my fists. No, I should not be hysterical. I gazed at the blank spot of the missing dot on the radar screen. The sirens of ambulances were coming from the runway below. I could see the moon and the stars in the sky.

The radar data showed he had climbed 29,500 feet in the sky. After a few minutes, he was lost in the clouds. He could have come out of the situation easily, but he got confused about the direction. Then, instead of turning left, he took a turn to the right and turned in the earth's direction.

It was all over! I held my head and sat there on the ground. The second plane had landed safely.

The next day, the Black Box revealed his last words. Emma was sitting next to me, silent as I feared. It stunned everyone when we heard, "O hell, mayday... fu** it... I am finished! Emmy! Yes... Yes, Goodbye Emmy. "

Emma almost grimaced at my palms. I didn’t have any desire to look at her. As a professional, no one was allowed to cry in the meeting room. Crashes were part of the profession.

That night, both of us were awake at one o’clock in the night. Both of us had eaten nothing properly or had enough sleep for three days.

Emma said, "I heard sirens. I felt something big was happening. I looked at my watch at that moment. I thought that twenty minutes had passed since Rocky took off. But my duty was over. I was here in the room. I did his pre-flight medical that evening. Did I miss something, or did he hide something?

That night, Rocky had an argument with the senior mat officer in front of me on the same issue. He said, "Rocky, don’t be in such a rush to go up. Listen to me, I will give clearance after forty minutes. I found this strange. He turned and said, "The sky is my home, sir." I have flown fighter planes in bad weather. I have already completed two thousand nine hundred ninety-nine hours. Today is a special day for me. I will complete three thousand hours in the sky.

"Yes, he used to say that I love the sky, whether it is blue, gray, or full of clouds, or deep black, full of stars, it is the best. But now?

"Why didn’t you tell me he had said all this in the last moments."

"Neeta What was going on in those moments?

What should I say? Yes, I only heard his last words, "Yeah, I am finished, yes... that’s it?"

"Yes, Emmy, yes," he said. Yes, how long did I have to wait for this "yes"? But it would be better if he didn’t say it. Now, what should I wait for next? " Emma burst into tears, saying, "Who will I wait for by the light of the moon?

Prompt #49: By the light of the moon ,

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