Friday 7 April 2023

Model Airplanes by Jim Bates, hot chocolate

 Was he high on glue? No, not at all. The young boy scooted the chair over to be closer. It wasn’t glue he was high on but being together, he and his dad, and that model airplane they were building.

“Here, son. Let me help.” His father guided the boy’s hand. “There you go.” A slight adjustment of two fingers, a turn of the wrist, and the wing fit tight, just like it should. “That’s great,” he said. “You did it perfectly.”

The boy can’t get over how good it is to be close like this. His dad’s knowing hand, the firm but gentle touch. The aroma of his aftershave, something subtle and spicy. A lingering scent. Secure and gentle.

Later that fall his dad made a shelf for the planes they’d built, three in all: A Texan, a B-17, and a Spitfire. All lovingly made by the two of them.

With his son’s help, he put up the shelf. It was right before Christmas just before he left his boy and his wife for good. He left an unfinished Flying Tiger behind as well. The boy completed it by himself that January. It wasn’t the same as with his dad, not even close.

He was an airline pilot. One of the best, it was said

The boy cleaned that shelf for the next couple of years, those planes. His mother never had to ask. He was drawn to the task by an emotion he didn’t understand deep within his breaking heart. He thought about building those models as he dusted each plane one after another, gently caressing the lonely plastic. Those were such good times. Why’d they have to end?

One day he packed up the airplanes and took them out to the trash can. It was a painful experience but had to be done. He felt like he was throwing away not just those models he and his dad had built, but something of his father as well. But what could he do? He’d begun thinking about how one day things would be different. Especially when he got older, and he and the son he planned to have would build their own airplanes.

Yeah, that’ll be good, he thought to himself, as he dumped the models in the bin. Really good.

A roar in the sky caught his attention. He looked up. A 747 just like his father flew roared overhead. He watched for a moment and then turned away. He secured the lid on the can and started walking back to the house thinking of he and his son. One day they’d build their own model airplanes. He was sure of it. And when they did they’d be best planes ever. He was positive.

About the author

Jim lives in a small town in Minnesota. He loves to write! His stories and poems have appeared in over four hundred online and print publications. To learn more and to see all of his work, check out his blog at:

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