My stomach hit the floor then the ceiling. The eye mask slipped down my nose and I slowly glanced around the back of the plane as the fasten seatbelts message sounded. Shit, turbulence.
I watched as two petite Indonesian women scurried back to their seats. I noted their sweet smiles and covered heads and thought of Julia’s housemaid who had beamed at me only a few hours ago when I handed her some money for looking after me while I visited. These two women, or more like girls, had that same smile. It lit up their faces but hid their true feelings.
I pushed the eye mask back into place as the plane hit another dip. I hate flying. Every change in the engine sound has me saying prayers and waiting for what I imagine is the free falling feeling one must have as you plummet into the angry sea or ragged mountains below. I must look at the map thing to see where the scattered remains of the plane would be found. As you can see there is absolutely nothing wrong with my imagination. In fact it works too well.
I stopped my thoughts and tried to focus on sleep. I wondered if the tablet I had taken hours ago with a glass of red wine was still prevalent enough in the system to lull me back into dream-world so I wouldn’t keep visualizing the scattered remains of the plane below like something that had been torn apart by vultures. See I told you that my imagination was a problem.
Had enough time passed that I could risk another pill? I peaked below my mask and registered the hands of my watch. One thirty AM Jakarta time and that made it three hours earlier in Dubai and only three hours ago that I had taken the damn tablet. There still should be enough of that stuff in the system to knock me out. Maybe I should find another glass of wine to numb my brain.
Mind you the combination was giving me the weirdest dreams. Just before the seat belt notice came on I was listening to sweet voices whispering about bombs. At least I think it was bombs. My Bahasa Indonesian is dubious at best mostly being related to cleaning and cooking vocabulary but that is what my brain translated out of the soft syllables that I heard. What did I just think? I didn’t hear them I must have dreamt them surely.
I tried to pull the remnants of the dream together. It was something about a planned bomb to blow up the president with snow bombs. No that didn’t make sense either…
“Shit.” I pushed up my mask as sleep disappeared quickly when we hit heavy turbulence. I felt the plane shudder and watched the overhead lockers sway.
“Oh God, am I going to make it out of this one?” I whispered turning to the empty seat beside me. A large man snored loudly in the seat beyond. How I could have fallen asleep with his snoring in the first place?
“Snow bombs.” I muttered under my breath. What the hell had I been watching on before I fell asleep? Snow Dogs meets Airforce One? A little voice at the back of my head kept telling me that I hadn’t dreamt it. It said loudly YOU HEARD IT.
I glanced forward and looked for those two little women. No surely they wouldn’t be talking about blowing up the president with snow bombs or if they were, they were on some sort of drugs. Maybe they were talking about balloons with the president’s face on them? Well that made more sense than snow bombs.
A stewardess whizzed past and the plane heaved sharply to the left as she banged on the toilet door. Hell, was someone in there? Were those poor girls waiting for the loo? Maybe they were talking about bladders and the old Indonesian president who was very ill? That made more sense.
“Come out of there immediately.” She stopped her hammering on the door long enough to speak. There was no response.
I gripped the arms of the seat. The plane bounced around and my knuckles were translucent as the blood totally left my fingers. I released one long enough to tighten my seat belt to corset tightness around my hips. The large man’s head was swinging wildly from side to side and up and down but he slept on as his snores filled the air between us.
“I will open the door.” I heard the cabin attendant shout over the roar of the engines.
I craned my neck to see her struggle to hold on as the plane’s movements threatened to take her off her feet. She pounded again on the door with her free hand.
I looked forward to catch one of the innocent faces peering back like me. She turned quickly away.
A huge cracking noise hit the plane. The audio speaker crackled.
“Sorry to interrupt your rest folks but we are experiencing severe turbulence as we move through this storm. That sound you heard a moment ago was the plane being hit by lightening. We have tried to climb above the storm and to drop below it but no joy so far. So folks please remain seated with your seat belts firmly fastened. All crew please return to seats immediately.”
I turned again to watch the woman kick the door in her efforts to get the person out then she shrugged and turned on her heals before she flung herself down the aisle to her seat.
I began to pray in earnest. Right now I need a Valium or maybe even something stronger. Sweat was making my grip on the arms of the chairs weaken. I glanced back at the toilet door that remained firmly closed. Maybe the poor soul in there was so terrified they couldn’t move. I know I would be if I was stuck in the loo and the plane was being thrown about in the wind like a leaf in a gale. Just as I thought this I heard a noise coming from the behind the door as the plane dropped.
I gulped and prepared to meet my maker. My stomach and heart must have been twenty thousand feet above me but unfortunately my brain had remained with me telling me were dropping out of the sky. I was never going to see my child or husband again all because I went off for a jolly with an old friend. God, forgive my selfishness. This is clearly your retribution for having too much fun, drinking too much wine, and for being an adult again without responsibilities.
The plane fell again and engines roared.
“Oh, God, at least, please make this quick.” The plane lurched to the side and I grabbed the seat in front catching my fingers in woman's hair.
“Sorry.” I shouted glancing down my row at the still sleeping man. He was at right angles and I really wondered if he had died as I couldn’t hear his snoring any more but that might be because the teen across the aisle was vomiting.
The plane seem to be climbing again or at least the nose felt as if it was pointing upward but I couldn’t be sure. The door behind me swung open and out crept not one but two people…