Ali had been doing this job for more than twenty-five years.
It still impressed him when he thought about it, but he had been part of the first airdrivers’ crew in history; when they launched the air-cab service he was there, along with the other nine colleagues who passed the selection. No day had gone by since, without him expressing gratitude for that blessing.
Ali remembered the ceremony as if it was yesterday. It was mid-July; the heat was extreme. On their way to Trafalgar square, little drops of sweat run from Ali’s father’s forehead, but he was so proud of his son that he didn’t complain once. He just took a tissue from the pocket of his protection coat and dried the sweat that got stuck between his cheeks and the facemask. Sonya did the same, although what she dried wasn’t sweat but happy tears.
Sonya and Ali’s father had watched Ali’s and his colleagues’ first flight among the crowd of people who surrounded the square. Ali wished he still had the video he had taken with his EYE during the performance, but unfortunately, it got lost after the introduction of the ban, when The Eye Society removed all the pictures and videos showing gatherings. Luckily, he had taken a mental picture of that moment; if he shut his eyes, he could still see the colours of all the masked faces looking up. No one could take that away from him.
How proud Ali felt that day; that was a big step for humanity – or at least that’s what he thought until he realised that it was nothing else but the first step toward the end of the civilisation as they knew it. At least, though, that belief had led him to a better life. He couldn’t even imagine how miserable he could have been if he hadn’t applied for the position. Becoming an airdriver had been the best decision of his life.