Friday, March 12, 2021

Microstory 1580: Getting Through It

The pilot is dead, and the plane is going down. I’m the only one here with any hope of flying it, but I only have a few hours under my belt so far.

I’m still hoping to find a navigator with a good enough map. My hands shake as I make the first turn. I need to be able to do this for seven more hours. I don’t know how much time has passed since I’ve flown in the cockpit of a plane, but the engines of the aircraft are now cold. There are no instruments, and no radio. I’m just hoping for the best. There is nothing more terrifying than taking over an airplane by yourself. I could attempt to write something to make you feel better about it, but I’m sure I would fail miserably. I’m not an expert on flight. I’ve never flown. I’ve never even been in a plane. But if I can do it, you can do it. You need this, though. Well, maybe not now, but you will want this. This is how they knew that they would need you. You need to be able to write about moments that are random and out of your control and also be able to make them actionable. So, here you go: It is coming up to one year since I last saw Dustin. The last time we spoke we...

...had this awkward moment where I was thinking we might get back together, and he paused like he was thinking the same thing, but then we looked away, and said our goodbyes. I’m trying to concentrate on what I’m doing, but my mind drifts to the past. I would be here with him if I had just stopped, and forced a conversation. We could have worked through our issues. We didn’t end on bad terms, but at the time, neither one of us was willing to compromise, and get on the same page. I regret that now, and not just because I’m heading for a mountain, and I don’t know if I can pull up in time. The people in the back are crying, reminding me of when I was volunteering at the assisted living facility. I watched a family watch their patriarch die right before their eyes. That was how I met Dustin, as he was an orderly there. I tried very hard not to become overly emotional in the moment, because it wasn’t about me, and he helped me get through it without seeming cold and uncaring instead. If he were here, he would know what to do. I mean, he wouldn’t be able to fly the plane, but he would keep me calm and focused. We barely miss the summit, and I feel like I can breathe again. It’s not going to be easy getting back home from here on out, but the worst of it should be over. I know this part of Colorado well enough, because it’s where he’s from, and we used to plan a lot of trips back, because it’s so beautiful. There won’t be another flat place to land for a while, I’m sure. We’ll just have to sit tight and wait. We keep going for about ten minutes until the engine starts making a sound I’ve never heard before, but we all know what it means. We’re running out of fuel, which I was hoping wouldn’t be the case, but like I said, no instruments. We’re gonna have to do a crash landing somehow, and I don’t think we’ll make it. Now I’m so glad that Dustin isn’t here, because he would just die with the rest of us. Another passenger yells that she finally found the parachutes, but there aren’t enough for all of us. This is my fault. It’s all my fault, Dustin included. I’ll stay.

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