Flight 945

Sitting next to two teenage girls.

Half an hour before takeoff and the chatter commences.

I’m so excited for this trip! This is so exciting! I can’t wait for us to take off! I can’t wait until we are on our next flight! I am so excited! To be on this trip!

Oh Lord, let this baby be a boy.

Two minute conversation about the rain. Five minutes about the flotation devices under our seats. Where are our parachutes?

Assiduous laughter.

The lights turn off for our early morning flight, like the flight attendant predicted. Ooooh! I like it dark!

They actually talk about decorating the cabin with stars and rainbows. It would be so pretty.

We start down the runway. We’re moving! Lift off. OMG we’re in the air! Tampa, Tampa!

I don’t mind enthusiasm. In fact, I find joy in many things. But repetition brings out the deranged cynic in me.

I begin to picture these two girls stranded, too young to rent their expected rental car, huddling under a charcoal raincoat in a cold downpour. The beach is closed all week. They are on their returning flight, exhausted in their brightly colored Holister hoodies, cursing Florida and their disastrous vacation, looking back on today with no less than bitter resentment.

Turbulence. I’msoscaredThisisfun! says the two-headed happy unicorn I have the privilege of sharing a row with. They begin to play Scrabble because it’s SO MUCH FUN.

I haven’t decided yet whether I’d rather be sitting by a screaming, puking toddler.

110 minutes left of this flight. If one of them says, “Are we there Yet?” flight 945 will land with two fewer passengers. And no, there are no parachutes on this particular aircraft.

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