The plane

The sky slowly darkens as the sun dips behind the clouds and the windows of the plane slide to grey. Whisps of air stream past, chasing droplets across the glass, helter skelter as the plane starts to descend.

The light changes, melting from the dazzling brilliance of moments ago to the dull artificial glow that washes over the life within, and an irregular motion bumps and buffets the plane, pockets of turbulent air enjoy their brief moments of power.

The rows of seats are almost full, the gentle chatter of a hundred strangers fight the mechanical hum, a war of attrition that neither will win. A sudden burst of laughter breaks through but is soon lost, impaled on battlements.

Near the front of the plane sits a young woman. She sits quiet through all of this, contemplative and resolute. She sits upright, deaden to movement. She is Joan of Arc of now, no martyr but divine in her moments. She is powerful yet still, assured and confident, the low tone of her voice resonants authority when she chooses to use it. She knows this full well, she knows the power she holds and she chooses her moments to wield it based on nothing but pure whimsy and focussed vigour.

She thinks ahead to the man that will be waiting for her. The moment their eyes will meet, the last few final steps they will take towards each other, the touch, the kiss, the embrace. A gentle smile creases her lips as her mind slips away into a daydream of what is to come.

At the back of the plane a group of men can be heard, their banter echoing down the cabin. They conform as you would expect, leery with the flight attendants and, with no sense of self, annoying and apologetic to those around them, They are an endless series of in-jokes and nicknames, inane chatter and sudden outbursts. The quiet bully and vicious mockery that they don’t fully understand.

Crouched in their seats, an elderly couple anxiously peer out of the window into the wall of cloud. They hold hands in comfortable silence, aware of each emotion passing between them with no need for words. They force their minds back to their holiday, the strolls along the promenade, the exotic drinks and food, the sun and the dashing youngsters, bronzing on the beach. Anything to take them away from their reality, the terror of falling.

Onward they descend, still in cloud, windows mirroring the transparent opaqueness of the air outside, the changes in light flicker through the cabin dulling everything inside to the soft hues of a dream. Loud voices dull, quiet voices cease and, slowly, silence breaks through the plane. Heads swivel and eyes strain as the passengers unite and turn to query the windows, peering through the grey white world outside, waiting for a view, any view, of something else, something real. Their reflections stare back, and none of them like what they see.

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