Jan/Feb 2002 spotlight

Flight Path

by Duncan White


I lived beside the airport. Right in the flight path. And every night those planes came rolling in.




City jets.

They were always coming in to land. I suppose the planes taking off used the runways on the other side.

One night Anne cooked. She cooked fish. She cooked it just for me. The two of us sat and ate together. And that fish was good.

I gulped it down. Smiling, not saying much.

It was a good night.

But that night I didn't sleep.

At 3 a.m., it seemed the planes were coming down with nothing in between.

I lay there in the dark. Each plane roaring through the room.

And I felt sick. It was a fear. All that noise overhead. And in the dark I saw ghosts and green men and a naked witch.

She had a tail that curled and she laughed at me.

The ghosts were black like shadows and stood very still.

I did not sleep.

A 747 rushed in over the ceiling.

I closed my eyes. Got up. Made it to the bathroom. And vomited hard into the toilet.

I cleaned it up. And got back into bed.

Anne was sleeping.

The ghosts were still around and I kept my eyes on them. Waiting. Even as my stomach cramped.

Another Jumbo landed.

Where did they all come from?

Again I felt my stomach pull. I got up, went back in and vomited. There wasn't much left. But it kept coming.

I fell back into bed. This was it then.

I waited for the ghosts to come. And claim me.

But I slept.

When I woke it was bright and cool. Anne was getting dressed; she had to be at work.

I lay there.

"I think I'm sick," I said.

She looked at me. Put a hand to my head.

"It's those planes," I said. "They're getting closer and closer."

She nodded.

"Too close for comfort?" she said.

I looked at her.

"Maybe it's the fish," she said.

"You ate the fish," I said.

"Not the way you did."

I rolled over.

I had to watch out for things that tasted as good as that.

"You'll live," she said.

Then she said goodbye and left.

Another plane was landing. I heard it coming from a long way off. A big one. It rumbled past, holding a line, even and certain.

All the way down.

Just then, it didn't feel so close.


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