Airborne

Stephan sits back in his chair and tries to make his head comfortable. The muscles on the right of his neck ache slightly, it’s impossible to get comfortable back here in cattle class. Stephan had asked them what the “current economic climate” had to do with his nine o’clock tomorrow, but to no avail.

He tried to move his head again, nothing, this was hopeless. He looked out the window and there, to his immense surprise, he saw a man. A man in a business suit flying next to the ‘plane, his legs and arms out in a star shape. Was he flying or falling? A lurch in Stephan’s stomach told him that the plane was falling but had recovered. Out the window the man fell under the cloud cover.

Did he have a parachute on? Was he fine? Why hadn’t Stephan shouted out? Why had he remained silent? But what could he have done? Was he still asleep? Was it a dream?

He turned to the guy next to him… Or rather he turned to where he had been. The words, “did you see that…” just kind of petered out. He must have gone to the bathroom and missed it. He thought about telling somebody, but had he just imagined it?

He picked up the glass of Vodka tonic on his tray table and drained it. He closed his eyes and thought about what he just had seen. Surely if he just opened his eyes everything would be back to normal. But he didn’t re-open his eyes, he fell asleep somewhere over Connecticut.

The shake on his bicep gently waking him didn’t seem to him to be as gentle as he, as a seasoned traveler, was used to.

“Excuse me sir, sir…”
“Sorry, I must have dropped off. Have we landed?”
“Sir…”
“Excellent, sorry I…”

Stephan looked up and noticed that the face of the stewardess was not fixed in the fake kindly gentle face he was used to but instead looked rather concerned.

“What’s the problem?”

Stephan looked around and decided that they were certainly still flying.

“Sir, we are about to make our decent and we have been unable to find your… Well the gentleman who was sitting here.”

She pointed to the still empty seat.

“Sir, do you know where he’s gone? I know it’s a funny question.”
“Um… I… I assumed he had gone to the bathroom.”
“They are all empty.”
“Well, um, well… Honestly, I thought I had been dreaming, but…”

One thought on “Airborne

  1. […] The other day I posted a short story here called Airborne. If you haven’t read it then you may want to go back and take a look, it’s only short, and the rest of this won’t really make sense otherwise. Here it is: https://gamboling.co.uk/2011/02/08/airborne/ […]

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