Turbulence

     
 

“Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.” ― W.H. Auden

Everything turns up when I have to die, eh? Everything wonderful! Everything annoying! Did I have to wait until the last moment to finish this book?

I didn't plan this. I didn't plan on dying on an airplane crash. Who would? The girl beside me has fallen deathly quiet. She wasn't a few moment ago, though. She was all tongue and teeth and theories about a country that did not exist. I was losing an argument with her because we remembered differently.

It offended me that she had her comforts brought to her easily, kindly. While I had to test and fight and rebel for mine. It offended me that she looked at me as if I was the fool for doubting. For going through the trouble of seeking answers.

And now? Not a single word out of her. Wait, I think she is reciting verses from the Holy Book. Oh, well. That's peace for both of us, ain't it?

It would have killed me if I spent the last moments of my life arguing with a mere child. Who cares about my generation’s bruises when the next one has easily and kindly forgotten? An argument like that would make a loud newspaper article. But here? Now? At 30000 feet and an explosive jet engine firing bad news at 300 uncomfortable passengers?

Nothing kills a man's ability to live fully like too much comfort. And I'm glad she has finally gotten a taste of real life here.

The inconvenient part about being dead, though, is the inability to talk. (Much less argue.) I took it for granted that I could just tweet or text from the other world. (Damn comforts again!) I can imagine my mother yelling: "You should never have left your comforts in the first place. But did you listen? Nooooo. You have nobody else to blame for your own death but yourself, missy."

Dearest mama. She had a funny way of trying to save me. She wanted to save me from everything by pushing me into everything else. Since I'm dead – or dying – would the only fear I have is failing to explain to her why I died?

Not exactly the kind of thought I'd like to die wearing. Not really.

What's left? Whoops, that's another plunge. Here comes the oxygen masks, popping out of nowhere like cartoonish hydro-plants. I helped the girl put on hers. She was cold. Her eyes huge and staring. Her mouth pressed together into a slit. Barely breathing. I wonder if she remembers. I had forgiven her forgetfulness; pity does that. Pity Forgives.

It wasn't her fault that she was comfortable. Neither was it my mama's fault that she wasn’t. I would have held their hands to comfort them. Just to tell them that, hey, dying isn't a big deal. A lot of people have died and you don't hear them complaining about it. Dying in a plane crash beats dying from long illness or -- Godforbid -- public mutilation of bodily parts.

I would have held them all, truly I would. But I needed my hands to unplug the damn oxygen mask. It kept swinging in front of my face, distracting me.

And I need to stop worrying about things I cannot do. I switched on the reading light above me. Thumbed the pages and found my paragraph.

My whole life, all the failures and achievements, all the people and arguments, it boiled down to these few final moments. For the love of everything good and honest, it would have been my only regret. Not finishing my book.

My last story.

 
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