That Feeling.

That feeling, the pit of the stomach, when it goes up and keeps going up, even though the rest of you has started going down.

She wasn’t expecting that, although, had she thought about it before the event, it was the least she could have expected. What else would happen when a 747 exploded, bucked, bounced then fell apart at 32000 feet?

Not that she knew she was at 32000 feet when her stomach had flipped and woke her up, she’d been running on a beach with that fat old Labrador that used to live two doors down the street when she was a kid.

In the dream she’d wondered why the fat old Labrador had shown up after all those years, maybe sixty years, since she’d last patted its head through the gap in the fence as she walked to school. As a kid she hadn’t even noticed that its wheezing squeaky nose wasn’t poking through when she’d gotten home that night, it was a detail too small for a frantic eight year old brain to notice, but there it had been in her sleep, running and panting, slobbering on her hands when she stopped to clamp its head and squeeze its ears.

Sand covered paws creating halos on the wet beach.

But now it was gone, like her dream.

She looked around the cabin, people were screaming and clutching at oxygen masks that hung like life giving nooses from above, she hadn’t seen them fall, they must have dropped when she wasn’t looking.

A bit like the plane.

She wasn’t scared, just confused, the man screaming in the seat next to her wasn’t helping, her arm was hurting and she couldn’t move it. She looked down and realised it was because the screaming man was clamping it to the armrest with his nails,
“My arm, you are hurting it.” She said to the screaming man, who stopped, looked down, then up into her eyes and said,

“Sorry.” And let go. Just like that.

“It’s okay if you are scared.”

“No, I’m sorry.” Quiet now.

The screaming man, who had stopped screaming, stroked her arm in apology and looked up around the plane, then closed his eyes and looked down into his soul.

She watched his bowed head for a moment and then looked out of the window at the greyness outside; it gave her no clue as to where she was and what was happening.

The sound of the rushing and roaring wind behind her head where the rest of the plane had once been told her there wasn’t much longer left.

Across the aisle a lady was writing on an envelope, a hastily written last testament bequeathing everlasting love to a beneficiary who would never read the words undying from the very dying.

She wondered how long she had left, tried to imagine the end then decided to just let it happen. One last look around, and then she thought about the Labrador, and wondered why he’d been on the beach after all those years, tail wagging sniff snorting happy dog.

Two rows in front a child looked over its mothers shoulder into her eyes, she smiled, and the child smiled back.

“A nice way to go,” she thought, “smiling at a child.”