Hands folded behind her back in expertly unbeknownst-to-fliers signage, she signals that the child that just stumbled in is afraid to fly. “First flight for the little one?”, she fake-grins at the mother that follows a second after, stumbling. She has no time to stop and listen or return the smile. Instead, she thrusts her three bags of life through the fat first class seats, much to their occupants’ pretend class-based annoyance.
Seated in Row 21, the mother straps her son to his seat, as he snivels nervously. The fear of flying is a shitty nobody, compared to the fear of where they were going, or the fear they just left behind.
Wartime flights. The frictional wheels of the airplane against the bomb-pocked runway, drowning the low-volume screams in the horizon, not so far form the airport. The whizz of the wings in smoky air, filtered through artificially perfumed air-vents. The smells of burning hair and skin – repugnant and throaty, now smelled like Febreeze, with a hint of reality. The pilot’s flight-plan, riddled with do’s and don’ts red contours of no-fly zones, as he blinks stupid and promises a safe flight, albeit long, chugs a shot as he presses on.
The coach stewards botox their smiles on, and offer everyone sympathy cookies, butterscotch. The sweet and crisp meal, sinks its artificial flavors slowly. The cabin, a series of teeth grinding, mastication, and imagination – of their best home-made lunch, nonpareil.
The luck to flee was an opportunity that didn’t offer itself to everyone. Some burned with the bombs. Others had their limbs blown as trophies. Still others yet had other parts atrophy. Children smiled buried.
The lucky flew.
“Are we there yet?”