Helen was sure her back was broken. She’d had so much confidence in Mark’s ability as a pilot she’d never even fastened her seat belt. Besides, the seat belt rule was in her mind, one of those things that the airlines use to give its passengers a false sense of security. After all, if one of these damn things decides to fall out of the sky, it won’t make a whole of difference if your seat belt is fastened or not. Well, she sighed deeply, that was the way she’d felt before.
The jolt had come out of no-where. Her tiny five-foot-one body was tossed about the plane like a rag doll. She was thrown out of her isle seat and then slammed violently against one of the bulkheads as the plane pitched to the left. She’d fallen head first onto the ceiling. That‘s when she’d heard it – a loud cracking noise between her shoulder blades. It was the strangest feeling. Her mind felt light as air and her body as heavy as dried cement. She consoled herself with the knowledge that she was not in any pain. She lay on the plane’s ceiling ordering her body to move but it refused her every command.
She lay there motionless listening to the screams of the other passengers all around her. She endured their kicks as they stampeded towards the door. No one tried to help her. Instead, they shouted insults at her, yelling, “Move bitch! Get out of the way!” God, how she wished she could. She kept trying to raise an arm or move a leg. But none of her limbs responded.
In the midst of the screaming and yelling, Helen heard the airplane’s door pop. With a quick intake of breath, she said quietly, “Oh God.” She knew what was coming next. She could already smell the muddy stench of the water as it roared into the plane. Death was coming. She didn’t mind dying but dying alone in the dark, not knowing whether Mark and the kids were dead or alive – that bothered her.
She found that the one thing she didn’t want to do, cry, was the only thing she could do. The warm tears filled her eyes and streamed down the sides of her face. They would not stop flowing.
“Mom!” When she opened her eyes, Brian and Nikki were bending over her. “Mom, we’re going to get you out! She wanted desperately to touch their faces. And to feel the warm caress of their skin. “Mom, we have to wait until the water lifts you and then we can safely push you out of the door. Brian was talking to her. Her Brian, alive and well. “Mom, you’re going to have to hold your breath and not be afraid, her fifteen year-old Nikki was alive! She wanted to lift her hand and gently brush the hair away from her face. She looked so scared. Mom, get ready, said Brian. Nikki, stay close.”