Airborne Illness

February 15th, 2009

Cozied up in all thirteen plush inches of a third class seat after an unexpectedly uneventful trip down security lane, Trevor looks at the equine face to his right, curious as to her motive. A couple books last-minute seats to New York, only to find a paucity of conjoining seats available, though the ticket gatekeeper both reassuringly and sensibly suggests that they book two seats removed by one passenger, that she didn’t know the statistics on such matters but if asked kindly, “most passengers” would kindly shift over a space for a couple traveling together. Even an inheritance would only get him so far.

The statistics of most were against them, evidently, as she’d refused to budge (‘must be a superstitious phobic thing, her favourite lucky seat or something,’ Hazel’s stolen sidelong glance had suggested, and he’d agreed with a barely discernable nod of the head). In fact, kindliness was seemingly misplaced for indignation in the closet of this stranger’s emotional responses, and after the lashing they’d been given at the suggestion of swapping spots from the mouth beneath her extenuated jowl, they both sat frozen in their respective seats, the occasional furtive glance the most communicative they’d allow one another.

(‘Well, without her conversational distractions, at least I’ll be able to get some work done on the chinchilla,’ he’d thought, when he suddenly and unfortunately remembered, as he slowly began to sink into sleep, that he’d been awake an awfully long time now.)

It was classic airplane sleep, half-lucid of banging carts and artificial food smells, and half-dreamscape into which the lucid half of him hoped to ensconce himself more deeply, in hopes of rabbit-hole revelation. The dreams themselves, fragmented further by the regular interruption of a sneeze, cough (obviously the phlegmatic hack of the recently nicotine-deprived variety), and random expectoration of she next to him, and further punctuated with a crude elbow brought sharply to his coastal cartilage, and while his was a troubled slumber, he thought himself alert enough to at least wonder if he couldn’t work on the chinchilla, at least enough to use it for purposes of immediate vindication: was she really so resentful? All they’d done was ask her to shove over a seat. What kind of a ritual was the middle seat, anyhow? But consciousness was lost, and somewhere in the hinterlands of his own consciousness, his only thoughts committed later to recall would be:

He had been planning to send a letter, or at least he had skirted around a mention of a plan to have a letter sent, as the time he’d been shown had been great time, and a letter is requisite acknowledgment of a letter.
Despite etoliatory recap, the gist was squeezed tight: it had been a good time, and a letter was due. But to whom? And would it be worth sending a letter if he was going to New York anyhow? Was he going to New York in this dream, or was he being temporarily awakened by her tarty elbow again, and did it matter when he grew this weary?

Piano-sized scale (that’s “grand,” for those not paying attention) wasn’t needed to measure the weight of the world lifted listlessly from his axial rotators, but the occasional good mal (not great, nowhere even near) would be appreciated, just a synecdochic seizure, she’d said, while satisfying a mission to indulge in three good meals a week. Hence the need for a letter.

It had later been noted that, unfortunately, she’d only been feting the esophageal although (it should be noted) through no fault of her own. A typo will always take the blame when there’s no one else at whom to unpry a finger of disgust.

But she had been speaking in long-forgotten dialects, this is again, why a letter, not a phone call or the verbal striptease of an actual meeting. Didn’t she (speak the language, that is)? After all, it had been time greatly spent, and as far as letters go, mightn’t he therefore send the fuzzy feltish sort that might be stitched onto an outergarment as a proud display of her athleticism?

Finally, a fit, blamed for this recent lapse into unredeemable expatiation, but he might instead wonder: with everything spelled exactly so, where’s the typo to ogle? The temperature may have dropped, but the climate is, for better or worse, controlled.

And there she stood, freedom towering over the mailbox while demanding false hopelessness, and as she waited for the sky to rain down the other shoe, he made a sandwich of himself, and then started to seize, and grandly, and at last. After all, he was planning to send a letter, and she only hoped he’d remember that her favourite letter was “I.” And that he wouldn’t forget that despite it all…

Ooooof, good morning to her too, there she is – this time he finds himself awakened to the tune of what must be a basketball-sized ball of deeplyrooted throat juice, working its way in a volte-face up her downward tubes and a fine strand of it finding its way to the knee of his very trouser.

His head not moving by its own accord but by the weight of weary, and his eyes only open enough to see the impressively strewn path culminating on his right leg, salivarily connecting to what must be her palace of masticatory mush, and, out of only the more surreptitious sidelong glance, he watched in helpless horror as she, shaky hand extended, softly brushed against the cotton over his knee in hopes of cleaning the mess she’d made. Her finger disappeared from his limited purview and just as he was about to reenter the land of organic milk and macrobiotic honey, the announcer on the in-flight microphone begged them to prepare for landing.

He bolted straight up. They had arrived.

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