My story this week – The Flight, is rated PG-13 according to my standards.
The Flight, by Deanna Schrayer
Cassie stood silent beside Pat as he booked their flight home. She kept watch over her flip-flopped feet as if they may take off without her any second.
“Do you have a preference of airline sir?” the attendant asked.
“No, it doesn’t matter,” Pat answered, “we just need to get home as quick as we can.”
“We have two seats available on a flight that boards soon, but they aren’t together.”
“That’s fine,” Pat said, opening his wallet and flipping through his credit cards.
Cassie sniffled and rocked sideways. There was a heavy pressure on her chest. It was all she could do to stand still, to not turn and run out of the airport, back to a safe place where no trouble awaited her. To a place where her daughter was alive and well, at home where she belonged, waiting patiently for her mother’s return. To a place where the guilt didn’t plague her like leprosy.
The attendant handed the tickets to Pat and told him they should go to the gate right away.
“Thank you,” Cassie said offhandedly as she speed-walked to catch up with Pat.
Pat wore his anger for her like a magic cloak, and it didn’t seem he’d be taking it off anytime soon.
“Do I have a window seat?” Cassie asked Pat as they stood in line. It was the only thing she could think of to get him started talking.
His face morphed to the color of ripe peaches. He grit his teeth and pushed his hair back off his forehead. “Your daughter is dying and all you want to know is if you have a fucking window seat or not?” He shook his head and turned away from her, walking ahead to bridge the gap that had formed in the line. Strangers stared, mouths agape.
“Honey….” Cassie tried, but he kept his gaze straight ahead as they walked to the plane. He took long strides to get ahead of her. She wasn’t sure what she wanted him to say, but anything would be better than the lingering silence she knew was coming. Anything at all.