Jitters

I am writing an online test today. That is what was scheduled to start five minutes ago.

I have just shot a quick e-mail to the agency managing the tests. Should I mention that these tests are a repeat of a test done in late October in the previous decade? My enthusiasm for this activity wanes with each passing minute. Next, my patience will begin to erode.

In the meantime, I have received three e-mails. One is advertising cheap accommodation near an airport I travelled to 18 months ago. As if I would go back there…

Oh, look, a new e-mail from the agency telling me that the tests for translation in the direction opposite to the one I travel in have been received. Let’s wait a little longer, she says, for the test that I am supposed to be doing. I don’t have all day, I think. And then I remember that there is always that expression beginning with F.

I still plan to have T-shirts, or tea towels emblazoned that on it, by the way. Ah, but what about my reputation? The test people have got another 15 minutes of my time. And after that’s done, forget it.

I have other things to do. Who knew?

©2019 Allison Wright
[199 words]

Two Hours

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.

[390 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2020

Away

I have been away for quite some time now. Too much has happened in the last three months, and it has kept my mind preoccupied with things other than writing. Work, the day-to-day nuisances of life, and—most importantly—nesting. For me, the winter months are a time during which I withdraw to be by myself, to enjoy the serenity of the tranquil dark, to wrap myself in cozy blankets, to shut out the world…if only for a little while. The smell of the cold, the gothic gloom brought on by the early nightfall, and the vague excitement about the upcoming holidays always held an almost magical quality for me. Writing about it and thus dissecting it, attempting to put it to paper (or—worse—typing it into an impassive, cold, logical machine and revising it on a bright screen) would rob it of the very magic I hope to preserve. So I simply took it all in, and in time, when the magic has faded on its own, I will be able to write again…about the smell of homemade food, the comforting warmth of Wassail, the purring of the feline companions, and the dreams, slowly fading away in the first light of dawn.

[204 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2020

A lesson in arithmetic

My builder father was very good at mental arithmetic. He played games with us as kids. How many years’ difference between his year of birth and my mother’s? 4. How old would I be in the year 2000? 36. And how old would he be? 65. And how old would I be in 2020. I said 56, and I was right. And then I said he would be 85. He said oh no, he would not be alive by then. He was right.

©2019 Allison Wright
[79 words]

 

This is what happens on Wednesday morning in this house.

I rise at 6.15. I’m in my pyjamas and I water the garden; Wednesday is one of the two days we are permitted to water. Wednesday and Sunday are our days.

Watering the garden takes some time because I have to make sure to move the sprinkler every 10 minutes. Apparently overwatering is nearly as bad as underwatering. I’ve applied soil conditioner, so the water sinks in instead of pooling and then running off. This is because the soil in this garden is sand. Beach sand. Hydrophobic.

I finish watering and Yoga asana practice follows. I have breakfast and then get dressed for my volunteer job at the Seniors Centre. So, I get in the car and off I go. My seniors are happy to see me and I get a lot of hugs.

[144 words]

Conflicted

Every morning, every single morning, I practice some Yoga asana. Now, I read the literature and this is, apparently, not a good thing. In fact it may even endanger physical health. The danger lies in the repetition, day in and day out. In my favour, I do vary the asana although there are three or four postures that I do every, single, day. Sometimes I put in more effort and other days I’m more relaxed.

So, where’s the conflict? Do I carry on as I have for the past two or three decades or do I cease forthwith? I am used to doing this daily practice and I enjoy the physical and mental stimulation.

I tend to believe a lot of what I read on the Internet and that is probably my downfall. Maybe I’m just a silly old woman in need of some different interests. Retirement is not all it is made out to be.

[155 words]

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Biscuit

Like a Marie biscuit divided in half. That’s how I described the moon to myself the other night.

Even though it was the big half, I did think my little phrase bordered on the maudlin.

And then I became so, as I imagined a world without Marie biscuits, and only the big half of one to look at every now and then when the night sky is bright.

©2019 Allison Wright
[89 words]