The orange juice on the tray in front of me starts rippling. Absent-mindedly, I grasp the plastic cup. I hear the engines roar as the plane rocks and shudders. Abruptly, I realize where I am: 38,000 feet in the air, traveling at 700mph in a tiny, fragile metal tube. It’s night outside, but even if it weren’t, all I would be seeing out the Plexiglas windows would be clouds, and maybe mountains.
“My Mom was once on a flight and in just a few seconds the plane dropped about 10,000 feet. Even the cabin crew were screaming!”
Why do I have to remember that story now? It’s just turbulence, it happens all the time. It’s not dangerous!
The rocking intensifies. A part of me knows that it’s safe, but that last voice of reason is stifled by primal fear taking over. I grasp his arm. How long has this been going on? A minute, maybe two?
I glance at the flight information. Eight hours to go. I can’t take this any longer. But there’s nowhere to go. Upon boarding that plane I surrendered my life to the crew and the engineers who built that tin can. Foolishly, I trusted that they knew what they were doing.
The engines are revving, and I can feel the plane accelerating. There is a soft ping and the seatbelt signs light up. The crew are sitting down…that cannot be good. I bury my face in his chest. I cannot lift my head to look at the screen anymore. The primal fear now has me completely paralyzed. All I can do is wheeze with every new jerking.
He reads out the numbers to me. Speed, altitude, trajectory. Over and over, while I am certain that I’ll never escape from this death trap. His voice is soothing, and if I died right now it wouldn’t be so bad…
But the elements aren’t kind enough to end it right here. They keep toying with us for the next two hours. Two hours, each minute of which seems like an eternity, gnawing away my sanity with every bit of shaking and revving and rocking.
And then it stops. Reluctantly, I open my eyes and squint into the unexpected brightness. It’s daylight now, and outside the window I can see clouds and mountains passing by…peaceful and impassive and eternal.
(c) Anett Enzmann 2020