The Plane Truth
I rub my eyes.
The fluorescent light glows from above, its brightness cold and threatening, humming with each blink of my sore, swollen eyelids. They are tired after being suffocated in a cold, metal container at 35,000 feet for the past six hours, the moisture and excitement sucked out of them. Furthermore, they were forced to stay open for the previous 12 hours back on earth, blinking rapidly as the hands of their owner folded, rolled, selected and stuffed many innocous, perceivably random pieces of objects into a 100 x 60 cm space of vacant air that zips up to a box of lively possessions. That box symbolizes the summary of my human needs for the next 5 weeks, which of course it will miserably fail to satisfy. It’s just so under-qualified, the poor rectangular black box, you see. My needs can never be so neatly filled by the same objects that can fill a standard box of stale air. They are shapeless, you see, and they are devious in their materialization, stealthy in the expression of their desires. They teem about in the shadows, ready to pounce at any second.
“Passengers of AC33, departing to Sydney at 12:00am, are now asked to board at Gate 10.” The reverberating sound of a polite, neutral female voice jolts me out of my thoughts.
I sigh, and its audible consequence startles me again, as so often these natural exhalations of emotions are silent, inward, unnoticed by no one. This one, somehow in my exhausted sleep-deprived state, escaped the conscious suppression that often catches them in their energetic youth.
I put the block of plastic and glass back on the shelf and hugged the horse-shoe shaped pillow closer to my chest, into that crook between my breastbones and under my collarbones. Both sensations comfort me. The heaviness of the bottle is made alive by the amber liquid that swirls within it, which seems to seep through the thick glass and lingers as my fingertips reluctantly peel themselves away from the smooth surface, leaving behind a thin film of dampness. The plushness of the pouch of cotton and fluff seems to expand around my skin as I bury my chin into it…its artificial but unbelievably soft fabric lies like a deep slice of black forest cake, offering the delicious promise of dark slumber and satisfaction.
I exhale involuntarily. Then feel myself sink into my feet as the air squeezes out of my lungs. Dizziness reigns over me for a second.
“Final boarding call for AC33, all passengers please board now at Gate 10.”
My feet move numbly against the pavement in small, nimble steps, as I amble mechanically towards the entrance of the cold, metal flying box.