When we hit a stable altitude, I decided I should probably take a nap. I wasn’t really sleepy. I just didn’t have anything better to do. Smarter travellers would’ve brought a book or a gadget of some sort. I had the inflight magazine and half a KitKat. I didn’t want to look like a loser so I figured sleep’s the only thing left to do. I shut my eyes. One by one, the sounds around me started to fade away. Within minutes, I found myself sleeping miles above the earth.
I didn’t get much sleep though. Of all things, it was the oxygen masks that woke me. I quickly took the one that hit me and put it over my mouth. The plane shook violently as the pilot talked to us about lightning and where we were trying to land. The stewardesses fought hard to keep their balance and their composures. One was helping an elderly woman with her life vest. Another was barking out instructions. Put this on! Pull both at the same time! Women with infants! I looked around me. The woman next to me was in tears, her paperback soaking in a puddle of coffee. The overhead bins flew open as bags threw themselves at unsuspecting passengers. Couples held on to each other as though love could get them through a plane crash. The religious clutched rosaries and prayed. In the middle of it all, I was strangely calm. I wasn’t afraid. I was thinking of you.
The plane ripped open and one by one, the seats flew out like they do in cartoons. My seat ejected soon enough. The clouds and the cold air felt sharp as I passed through them. The city lights looked like stars. I mapped out the bridges and skyscrapers like they were constellations. I floated aimlessly, my heart fearless, my mind hell-bent on a destination.
I wanted to float to you. In my mind, I pictured landing on your doorstep. You would open the door and let me in. It would be awkward at first, you not knowing exactly what I was doing or how I got there. Me, heavily burdened by all that I couldn’t but wanted to say. If that happens, would all the things we couldn’t talk about stop mattering? Or would we still be afraid of all we had to lose?
I’d like to think that at that moment, it would just be me and you and no one else. No meddling friends, deep-set issues or exes who refuse to be forgotten. There’s only us and the bright opportunity to fall in love. We’d hug and it would feel like we found missing parts of ourselves in each other. Our hearts would start beating in tune. We’d kiss in sweet slow motion, like honey dripping or something pretentiously poetic like that. Maybe a few birds would sing. There would be a double rainbow. But none of that would matter because we’d be lost in each other’s embrace.
The only thing worse than waking up from a nightmare is to wake up from a silly dream. We will never meet. We will never touch. We are too fucked up to let go. The pilot announced that we’d landed early. I stood up to get my carry-on. I turned my phone on to check my messages. There was one from the office, another from an old friend. I tapped compose.
“Just landed. The airport is five different shades of lonely.” Not that you asked. Not that you will.
♫: Jason Mraz | Plane (2005)
Photo: airplane window / pixlr.com