“What?” She stared at him, terrified, gasping hungrily at the air fed to her through the hanging oxygen mask that tightly hugged her face.
“It will be ok, and whatever happens, you won’t be alone.”
She grabbed his open hand, holding it tightly as the turbines began to scream, the cabin rattled, and the world became a deafening roar of sound and movement.
“Excuse me… miss?”
Kirsten snapped out of the daze she had fallen in to and realized that she was still at the Houston airport and next in line at the ticket counter. The lady behind the counter smiled warmly and extended her hand.
“Can I have your ticket Hon?”
Kirsten stepped forward and placed her ticket in the hand of the representative while giving an awkward smile.
“Let’s see here…” The woman behind the counter quickly tapped Kirsten’s ticket number in to the system and brought up the details of her flight. “So it looks like you’re flying in to Orlando, non-stop. Your gate is C-30, departure time is 4PM, and you’ll be arriving at around 7:20.”
“Sounds good” said Kirsten as the lady checked her luggage and printed her boarding pass.
“Have a good flight.”
A frustrating forty-five minutes later, after the security line and a random search, Kirsten quickly tied her shoe laces and wandered over to the food court to buy a cup of coffee. Coffee now in tow, she headed for the seats at the gate. She carefully placed her bag on the chair next to her, and plopped down to relax with her coffee. Before even taking her first sip, she waited a few minutes to enjoy the warmth of the cup radiating between her closed hands that rested on her lap.
Time passed and soon it was her group’s turn to board the passenger jet. Stretching as she stood, she discarded her empty cup in to the nearby bin that dutifully sat at the end of her row’s chairs. Slinging her bag over her shoulder, she headed for the gate, handed them her boarding pass and ID, and then ventured down the corridor.
Kirsten quickly stuffed her bag in the overheard compartment and sat down next to a man who was quietly looking outside. Meanwhile everyone else continued to situate themselves and store anything that couldn’t be situated under a seat. Kirsten buckled and tightened her seatbelt, and to the noise the individual turned and smiled at her warmly.
“Well hello there it’s nice to meet you!” he said happily and held out his hand. When she pressed it in to his for what would be a quick and courteous handshake, he stated “Anthony” while continue to smile.
“Kirsten” she replied, feeling confident that she had not been seated with someone who would annoy through the duration of the flight. Attention was drawn to the front of the cabin, safety procedures demonstrated, the crew secured, and the engines roared as the craft pulled itself in to the air.
More than two hours flew by as Kirsten and Anthony talked about where they were from, where they were going, their families, their lives, and were quickly becoming very fond of one another. She was thrilled to find that they weren’t actually that far from each other and that both were conveniently single.
Just as Kirsten had worked up the courage to ask Anthony for his number, a loud dull thud rocked the opposite side of the airplane and the cabin tilted. Kirsten grabbed the arms of her chair while Anthony straightened up to look over the chairs towards the source of the noise. Another even louder thud rocked the airplane, and people began to yell in surprise and fear. The overheard buzzed to life, the captain instructed everyone to remain calm and seated, belts fastened and tightened. As the overhead clicked, a horrible and slow metal on metal sound burst from the right, the plane dropped, people screamed, and the masks deployed. As the plane dove, Anthony and Kirsten tightened their masks, and looked out their window to see the approaching lights in the dark distance.
They looked at each other, his words were spoken, she took his hand, and through the darkness the wounded vessel tore through, however, the two of them felt strength as they plummeted towards fate and the beautiful possibility.