The seat below me is soft and blue. I look out the tiny rectangular window and see nothing but blackness and occasional spurts of lighting.
The seat below me is gray, the windshield before me is covered in smashed bugs that speckle the vision of evening traffic.
We rock violently, trashing through the night sky. This is not turbulence, and as much as I would like to hear the reassuring voice of the captain, assuring us of our altitude and safety, this will not be that type of flight.
My eyes water. I am in a sea of cars, their headlights blink on and off in a Morse code of red.
We jerk violently, like a toy in the hands of a giant. The lights have gone off and the aisle is illuminated in an orange glow of polka dots. The air masks drop, I reach to them like a machine clinging for life. Air. I need air. It is the scene from a nightmare. The terror of birth, the knowledge that soon I will be taken, taken back into the world of darkness. This is the sheer pain, the raw fact of inevitable death. This is happening. And it’s happening to me.
Tears begin to flow. The freeway surrounding me is a slow game of movement. But I am in the sky. I am crashing towards my death. I am sucking air. I am clenched with fear. The ocean is below, a black vastness that will soon embrace my cold flesh.
There are screams and they are loud, but at the same time, running in parallel, is the muted stillness of a moving grave. I move as though it as if wading through molasses, each second stretching further than I ever thought possible. An electric cord of lightning blasts through the sky like a careful dancer. The craft shakes with the force of a demon. All truths exist at this moment.
Sadness will not let go. Fear of the inevitable moves with my blood. My mouth is dry.
A terrible roar, the screech of metal ripping, what have we lost? There is crying, but there is silence, the silence of an approaching death. The plane tips, we flap like a feather, this multi-ton hunk of metal is dropping like a stone in a pond. Has my heart stopped? I am nearly dead with fear.
Their fear is mine.
It is the sound of dying metal, there will be no landing, not on hard earth. Open up, we are coming.
The wing hangs by a tendril. Every prayer I have ever known runs through my mind, words flip through me like a crazed typewriter.
There is nothing that can help us now.
I will never see him again, his eyes flash in my mind, the space we shared in the airport not too long ago. Just moments before the flight. We stared, my lips quivering, my hands still playing with the crinkled hair from his beard.
A tear begins to form, the pain of knowing this is the end.
I held and held, feeling his truth. Sink, he said. Let it wash over you like a warm wave. You will never see me again. Goodbye, I will see you on the other side, I will call for you with my bell and my candle. I will call for you. Listen for me, come to my words, let me be a guide. Follow me.
I reach deep within me and I pull out another breath.