The plane dives. I sense its tilt, the nose pointing almost straight down as it speeds through the clouds. I sit in a rear row and can see over the seats in front of me. There is no cockpit door – no cockpit in fact. I know/sense that there’s a large windshield where the cockpit should be, but I can’t see it. The ground below seems both far and near, approaching quickly yet taking longer than I expect. I hear the screams but see no one.
I’m going to die.
The thought comes quickly and for a dream-second, I’m afraid. Pavement (a parking lot?) appears inches away from the windshield and I know that the plane is about to crash. Calm, or maybe resignation, replaces fear and I close my eyes, readying for the impact. The plane strikes soundlessly and starts to fold in around me. The screams are gone.
I feel relief.
This isn’t so bad.
The plane is airborne again, not striking or folding. It speeds towards a cluster of skyscrapers that seem oddly shaped, like I was looking at a reflection of them in a fun-house mirror. That sense of my death approaching washes over me again. I manage to get on my knees in the space in front of my row of seats. I bend forward and cover my head and face with my arms. The prospect of flying glass worries me more than death.
Time shifts. I’m aware that I’m still hunkered down, anticipating the crash, but I’m also sitting and T is next to me. I-sitting grab T and pull him down to the floor and wrap myself around him. The glass worries me still and I want to spare Ty that pain. I know he’s going to live through this.
The plane crashes, and I feel it begin to break apart. The seats in front of me creak and shift, fighting the bolts that hold them to the floor.
Where’s the glass?
I thought dying would be worse.
I hope Ty is ok.
The glass pricks my skin like hundreds of needles. The pain is worse than I expected. That’s ok because T is safe and that’s all that matters. My body is blocking the flying needles and he doesn’t feel a thing.
Time shifts again. T and I are in front of our house. His hand holds on to my finger as he stumbles along next to me. His stumble isn’t that just-started-walking stumble that toddlers have. I sense more than see that he’s scarred and disfigured in some way.
I couldn’t stop all the glass.
T speaks, his voice sounding like himself but also like my youngest brother – B – when he was a toddler. I’m aware that T and B are suddenly one person but that doesn’t seem unusual.
I’m ok, Daddy. It wasn’t that bad.