I was travelling solo today early morning, I had the aisle seat but unfortunately I had to exchange seats with someone who wanted to sit with their family, I couldn't say no to them because I knew who they were. I knew their family very well back when I was an 8 year old but now I have no clue about their life.
It was a Vistara narrow-body Airbus A320 I was travelling in, if you've travelled in that airplane, you already know it's super uncomfortable, but here's the thing.
I had to go and sit on the middle seat with two 40 year old men. Both of them spread their legs wide and sat. I forced my legs to minimize the space I took so that I don't invade their personal space but heck people can be so mannerless, he spread his legs more to a point where his leg was touching mine. I told him to adjust and not touch me, he said yes every time but didn't do shit. If they were like 6 feet tall I would've understood but both of them were shorter than me (I'm 5'7''). Most uncomfortable flight I've ever had.
Thank you for hearing me out.
I'm reading up on it right now and an article is saying, for example, that an Airbus A321 has a fuel economy of 120 miles per gallon per seat. Does this mean, when compared to an SUV, a person would travel approximately 6 times more efficiently in an airplane (based on a 20 MPG gasoline vehicle) compared to traveling in the SUV? I've been trying to learn about the efficiency of air travel vs ground travel.
Booking a return trip from Dublin with spouse & lap infant. The two best business award options are Air Canada & United - comparable points spend when transferred from MUR.
Is there going to be a noticeable difference in either of these choices, or is it a toss-up?
Air Canada Business:
DUB-YYZ Boeing 787-9 (1-2-1 configuration)
^ it looks like seat 1D has a bassinet, which would be great for flying with an infant. That seat is open for my dates
YYZ-DEN Airbus A220-300
DUB-LHR Airbus A320 Operated by Aer Lingus
LHR-DEN Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (1-2-1 configuration)
Seats 1A/1L have bassinets, but those seats are booked on the dates I am looking at, so that's moot
Travel date is 7/30/23
Flyone plans to lease an Airbus A330 in the near future. The aircraft will have 222 economy class and 30 business class seats. This will be the first wide-body aircraft operated by an Armenian airline after the notorious A310 of Armenian Airlines. The airline is looking for opportunities to enter the Indian and Chinese markets (Armavia has tried both but failed), and is also considering increasing transit capacity through Yerevan. Five new routes already announced for the summer season are Samara, Dusseldorf, Larnaca, Novosibirsk and Tehran. Seasonal charters are planned to the Egyptian resort towns of Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam (for the first time from Armenia), Albania, Bulgaria and to the Greek islands. Flyone is also planning operations in Spain (Bcn), but no details have been released yet..
Just want to acknowledge the amazing flight attendants and pilots today with American Airlines! Had a total panic and crying meltdown on my regional flight (CRJ-200). The FA was incredible—as was a nice stranger who gave up his seat so I could sit at the front and my seat mate who distracted me, even though I was crying. I also want to acknowledge the pilots who let me see the cockpit of our Airbus and the JetBlue pilot in the jumpseat who answered all my questions while we were waiting to board! He flies out of Boston (was it you Real Gentleman?)
I was afraid to fly AA because I’ve heard bad things about customer service but they truly went beyond.
I am flying down to the Bahamas in a week. I’m traveling via American Airlines, i think it’s an Airbus A319 if that matters.
I’m F, 5’5”, 250lbs. Size 20/XXL. I carry most of my weight in my stomach. I’ve actually lost about 15lbs in preparation for this trip. I’m going with my bf, and it’s my first time flying so I’m very nervous I’m not going to fit in the seat. Do you all think i should be ok? Im a nervous wreck.
Had he lived beyond the Iron Curtain, my uncle would have spent most of his life in a mental asylum. In Communist Czechoslovakia, however, mental asylums primarily served as a means of punishing political opposition so my uncle was relatively free.
Well, for most of his life at least.
Rural existence doesn’t really lend itself to the nuances of mental health, so no one dwelled too far into his peculiarities. He was never formally diagnosed with anything and I wouldn’t dare try to play doctor, but rest assured he was far from stable. The village just considered him crazy
and left it at that.
Well, for most of his life at least.
There was a horseshoe shaped scar above his right eye. When I was a kid I presumed he was strange
because of that scar, but decades later, in hushed whispers after family reunions — I would find out my uncle was born strange
As a child he would walk out onto the hill at the edge of the forest and howl at the moon like a rabid animal. He shunned the regular toy trains and wooden soldiers that the other boys would play with and instead made his own dolls of sticks and straw. Once he was old enough not to require constant supervision my uncle would disappear into the forest for days on end and would only return back to the village for food and water. When, in his late teens, my uncle arrived at the breakfast table with blood dripping down his forehead his parents just assumed he had gone out on another misadventure.
The boy was strange, but he was not deemed dangerous. As cryptic as his speech was, as incomprehensible as his behavior was — the village had agreed that he was harmless. The boy was strange, but he would never hurt a living soul.
Until the autumn of ’78 that notion held true.
Much of my early childhood was spent following my uncle around the village. While his erratic behavior was a cause for concern among most of the village, I found him fascinating. While the other adults in my life wanted to lecture me on cleanliness and how a young man should act, my uncle would tell me strange fairy tales about the magical creatures of the forest. The vodníks, the bogienky, the Baba Yaga — my uncle would fill my head with tales of fantastic beasts that roamed beyond the confines of the village. The talk of responsibility and cleanliness that all the adults in my life would subject me to was senseless noise compared to the mysterious sermons my uncle would impart to me.
In ’74 or ’75 my great-grandfather died. A couple months after the village funeral much of the family loaded themselves into their Trabants and Ladas and drove out to Poprad, the nearest city where the inheritance proceedings would take place. Even though my uncle had a downright antagonistic relationship with cars, when it came time to depart, he pushed me over to the middle seat and joined in on the ride.
The man never shaved. For most of the drive through the hills his unkempt beard kept on rubbing against my face. I distinctly remember being irritated at the prospect of having to ride between him and my grandmother. My face itched and I was angry about not being consulted on the seating arrangements in the car but by the time we arrived in the city my spirits calmed. My family promised a solemn reading of the will. My uncle promised a stroll around the city.
I chose my uncle. While my parents got ready for the reading of the will and arguments over who inherits what land, me and my uncle set off on walk through the center square. At least, that’s what he announced to the family.
Our course quickly changed.
The main square of Poprad was filled with all sorts of fantastic things a village boy might find amusing, but my uncle had other plans. He led me out of the center towards a roadway. The cement houses that surrounded the road proved to be of some interest but after a while they disappeared as well. All that was left was a busy road surrounded by fields.
For what felt like an eternity we dodged cars with nothing to shield us from the summer sun. I was starting to grow frustrated with my uncle again, I even started to complain about my legs hurting, but before my frustration manifested into a childish outburst the true destination of my uncle’s pilgrimage was revealed — the Poprad airport.
I wasn’t raised under a rock. I watched cartoons. I knew planes existed. I just never saw one in the flesh. Decades down the line I would become an aerospace engineer, the moment clearly had an impact. That initial burst of pure fascination of seeing a real flying machine will stick with me till the day I die — but it will always be tainted by what my uncle said to me.
My uncle grabbed me by the shoulder and pointed towards the airfield. With utter disgust and rage in his voice he told me that “The devil drives in one of those machines. You have to keep your eye on them.”
Over the years I had chosen to forget about my uncle’s inexplicable hatred of planes and just focused on the moment when I fell in love with engineering. Yet over the past couple of days, I have thought long and hard about what he said that summer afternoon.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the holy water incident of autumn ’78.
The construction of the new fire station was the most interesting thing to happen in the village all year. The rickety church would still be the highest building in the village, but it would only retain its position because it stood on top of a hill. The two story cement structure grew day by day and even half-finished it managed to dwarf all the cottages around it.
That autumn I spent every afternoon at my great-grandfather’s grave. My parents thought I sat by the tombstone because of some sudden burst of filial piety and they relaxed their stances on chores in response. Truthfully I just sat there for a good view of the fledgling fire station. Watching the building be constructed in individual steps, from the metal scaffolding to the mixing of the cement was utterly fascinating to 12-year-old me.
It was during one of my afternoon observation sessions that the holy water incident took place. I was watching the workers mix cement to fill up the metal skeleton of the second floor when the doors of the church burst open. Out came running my uncle, with a jug of water cradled in his arms. After him, flustered and red in the face, came the village priest. Behind the sprinting priest, peeking out of the church doors like nervous sheep, came the attendants of afternoon mass.
The construction of the new fire station was the most interesting thing to happen in the village all year, but the holy water incident quickly overshadowed anything that had happened all decade. My uncle dashed down the church hill towards the construction gripping the stolen jug of holy water. A handful of workers were attending to the cement mixer but with savage shouts my uncle dissolved their huddle. With the intensity of a fire-fighter at an ammunition depot my uncle started to pour the holy water into the cement mixer.
The priest was beside himself with zealous rage, but the man of cloth wouldn’t touch my uncle. One of the construction workers, however, unbound by oaths of non-violence, tried to intervene. He grabbed my uncle by the shoulders and tried to pull him away from the cement mixer so that the holy water would not be squandered.
My uncle had never been a violent man. It was perhaps because of his harmless nature that the village tolerated his bizarre behavior. My uncle had never been a violent man, but when the construction worker attempted to stop him from pouring the holy water into the cement he turned around and planted his fist square into the construction worker’s nose. The impact of the punch could be heard from atop of the church hill.
The construction worker reeled back from the hit and landed straight on his ass in the gravel. As the man in dirty overalls collected the blood from his bleeding nose my uncle finished off what he set off to do. He poured the rest of the water into the cement mixer, and then, when the holy jug was empty, he screamed a cry of victory:
“Charcoal!” he yelled, “Charcoal for the long winter!”
Back then, those words meant nothing to me.
My uncle continued to scream about the charcoal until the workmen restrained him. Had he punched one of the villagers the issue would have ended there. My uncle would be chastised for his behavior, perhaps beaten a bit, and then he would be left to his own strange ways. My uncle, however, did not punch some unimportant hick. He punched an out-of-towner who came in to help with the construction. This out-of-towner also happened to be a good friend of the head of the fire safety committee. He was not going to let his broken nose go unpunished.
The police arrived shortly before sunset. By the time the sky was dark my uncle was gone.
They say he died of pneumonia in prison a couple years later, but no one really bothered to check. Once my uncle was driven out of the village his existence fell comfortably into the realm of myth. People would occasionally mention him at family reunions but he was more of a punchline than a human being by then.
The crazy uncle.
The crazy uncle we don’t talk about much. He had slipped my mind too. For a couple weeks after the holy water incident I was curious about his fate, about why he would pour holy water into a cement mixer, about the charcoal for the long winter — yet soon enough those questions were buried beneath the universal blues of puberty. By the time I got out of high-school I scarcely remembered I even had a crazy
I studied engineering in Prague and, when the Bolshevik system collapsed halfway through my studies, I fought tooth and nail to move to the West. I finished off my masters in Delft and then, through a lucky set of coincidences, ended up flying across the ocean to Arlington.
I spent most of my life in the US, away from my roots. I got married, had kids, got divorced and worked myself to the bone in the process. When my father died my schedule was far too hectic to make the flight back home. All I managed to do was to sit by his grave overlooking the now defunct fire station. My father was gone and, after a week or so of visiting, I found my mother on her way as well.
I didn’t show up for my flight back to the states. Instead, I stayed in the village where I was born.
The first couple of weeks were confusing. The village was much smaller than it was in my memories of youth. Everything was quieter, more peaceful and when night came the darkness was so total, I felt like I could grip it in my fist. The once mighty fire-station had become an empty building that served as a makeshift town hall and a place to have funeral receptions. The only thing that didn’t seem to have aged was the rickety church and that was just because if it got any more unstable it would collapse.
After the disorienting arrival I adjusted to my new rural life. My mother was confined to her bed, so I spent most of my time in the cottage tending to her or listing through the many books I promised myself I would read after I retired. The days started to blur into each other and I found myself much calmer than I had been in decades. Rural life had turned out to be rather blissful.
Then, a snake fell from the sky.
Verona Halčín, the mother of the mayor, reported one day that a snake fell on top of her as she was making her way up the church hill. She was much older than my mother, but Verona’s religious zeal and need to be the center of attention kept her animated well past her years. The mayor’s mother claimed that the snake had been a punishment from God. The village veterinarian claimed that the snake was probably just some bird’s dinner. The mayor claimed that the snake issue would be addressed.
I did not busy myself with the snake affair. My mother’s health had deteriorated to the point where I would wake up in the middle of the night in fear that she had died. I was more concerned with the impending funeral arrangements than a snake in the church yard. It was during one of my paranoid middle-of-the-night wake-ups, however, that I found something new to worry about.
It must’ve been around 2 in the morning. I found myself sweating in bed and my mother’s snoring had gone worryingly silent. I made my way over to her room to find her lying on her side, still alive and quietly breathing. That’s when I heard that terrible sound.
It started off as a quiet rumble but quickly gained in dark tenor. Soon enough the whole cottage was shaking. Somewhere above us something terrible moved. It sounded like thunder amplified through a metal cave. The terrible noise was unlike anything I had ever heard before and its mere presence made any thought impossible. It wasn’t until the dark roar had fizzled off into the distance that I realized that the noise sounded strangely familiar.
I just couldn’t place my finger on it.
My mother has been hard of hearing for years now. She slept through the deafening roar and, when I asked her about it in the morning, she excused it as a simple thunderstorm somewhere off in the distance. Her explanation didn’t calm me.
In the evening, once my mother had gone to sleep, I found myself in need of company and a drink.
Off in the village pub the air was rife with discussion about more alleged snake sightings. Some claimed the snakes were a sign of divine judgment, others claimed that there was a stork nest in the steeple of the church — all were very convinced of their theories. The discussion was losing in its civility and threatened to burst into violence, yet before fists and chairs started getting thrown around mayor Halčín banged on the table and demanded calm. The steeple of the church would be inspected on the following morning. All discussion of snakes was to cease till then.
In that brief silence between the shouts I thought of bringing up the strange howl I had heard in the night, but before I did someone beat me to it. The city kid spoke up.
We had both moved to the village around the same time, but I had roots. He didn’t. The kid asked about the strange noise
in the night and all he received from the table were stares.
Halčín told him it was just thunder. The rest of the table murmured in approval.
The kid didn’t take it. He said he saw a glimpse of the thing. Something had flown above the village. The kid started saying something about the thing shining with red light but before he could get into any proper descriptions Halčín stopped him in his tracks.
It was thunder, Halčín reminded him. The sound the boy had heard was thunder and any further discussion was spreading panic just like the snake talk. He was told, in no uncertain terms, that further input on the subject was not welcome.
I had grown up around Halčín and knew not to contradict him. The kid didn’t seem to need the years of experience. He knew to stay quiet as well. After the mayor had shut him up the kid finished his drink and left. I was happy I didn’t bring up the sound myself. Eventually, with a couple of drinks, I convinced myself that Halčín had been right — all I heard was some far off thunder.
At least that’s what I told myself.
I couldn’t fall asleep that night. I had drunk enough to become sluggish and my internal monologue had descended from words into vague notions, but consciousness refused to depart. I laid in bed, listening to my mother’s strained snoring, trying to remember why the sound I had heard the night prior sounded so familiar.
My mind was far too dulled to even properly recall the sound, but by the time the bedside alarm clock creeped towards 2AM it was no longer necessary. The sound was back. As if it had been tied to my mother’s snores it slowly crawled into reality. The roar above grew louder and louder until everything else ceased to exist. The windows of the cottage shook, my face grew numb — everything in the world descended into nothingness to make room for that deafening sound.
Perhaps because of exhaustion, perhaps because of fear; I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. I laid under my covers with my eyes wide open staring at the ceiling trying to fully concentrate on that terrible sound outside.
Well before the noise reached its deafening zenith, I placed it.
It was unlike any engine I had ever witnessed; it was much louder and darker than anything I had encountered in the decades of my career — but the noise was unmistakable.
A plane was flying at an extremely low altitude above me.
I wanted to get up, to look at what sort of engine could produce such a horrid sound — yet lying in that bed I found myself paralyzed. The roar from the skies above, even muffled by the walls of my wooden childhood home, was so loud it made my teeth chatter. All notion of physical strength drained my body and I was left motionless in bed.
When the roar finally died down, when the night settled and all I could hear was the bubbling of the far off stream and the snoring of my aged mother — I put on my shoes and walked outside. Somewhere off in the distance that terrible sound still rumbled, but aside from the burning moon the sky was clear. Standing there, searching the night sky for a hint of a plane my uncle’s words crashed into my internal monologue: “The devil drives in one of those machines. You have to keep your eye on them.”
There was a terrible storm the following day. Hail the size of fists dropped from the sky and the gentle bubbling stream that led through the village threatened to turn into a flooding river. I had spent the whole day inside tending to my mother, but later I would find out that there had been a death at the church. A farmhand had been sent up to the steeple to check if a stork had made a nest there, but during his ascent the wind had shifted and the ladder he was climbing turned loose. The farmhand met his end against the metal fence of the church. His death was not quick.
On any other occasion the death of the farmhand would have overshadowed all happenings in the village for weeks. The events of the following night, however, pushed the youth’s death into obscurity.
My mother had gone to sleep well before midnight. I was alone in the cottage, sitting by the window and occasionally watching the clock sluggishly turn closer to 2 AM. All that kept me company was her snoring, but beyond the glass I could see other cottages were lit up just like mine. The storm had prevented me from talking to the other villagers about the roaring jet engine, but it was clear others were awaiting its return as well.
We all sat around our windows, expecting answers.
Instead of clarity, however, the village received destruction.
I spent hours waiting by the window just so that I could see the source of that deafening sound. The closer the clock got to two the more my knees started to ache. Something deep inside of me demanded I turn away. Something deep inside of me knew that what was hiding behind that window was best unseen. By the time the rumbling started off beyond the hills I had to grip the windowsill to stay upright.
My teeth clenched and my eyeballs bulged and I had to press my face against the glass — but I saw it. For a mere collection of seconds that will forever be scarred into my memory — I saw it.
It was unlike any plane I had ever witnessed.
Whatever make the airbus was, it was bigger than anything I had ever worked with or seen. If you took the Antonov, painted it jet black and then pushed its size to the very limit of aerodynamics and then pushed a bit further — that’s how big the plane above was. On its massive wings sat two blood red lights that shot tendrils of pain from my eye-balls to the back of my skull. Every moment I spent looking at the machine I could feel my sanity slip away. I did not last at the window for long. soon enough I was curled up on the floor with my palms shielding my ears.
Before my body gave out, however, I noticed the most horrid thing of all:
The plane was flying dangerously low. The plane was flying dangerously low and heading straight for the steeple of the church. Beyond the metal screech I could not hear the impact. I could not hear anything. The universe distilled itself into cacophony and only a single thought, a single memory broke through — “The devil drives in one of those machines. You have to keep your eye on them.”
Well after the noise had rumbled off beyond the valley, I was still lying on the floor. My mind had been completely sandblasted by fear and every inch of my body felt foreign. It wasn’t until I heard shouts from the outside that I managed to crawl to my knees.
The church had indeed been hit. The steeple had been knocked down and reduced into nothing but kindling that burned over the graves. The rest of the church was also burning. It was as if the plane had sparked the fire itself.
The sight of the eldritch airbus had been enough to drive me to the floor, but the fire had brought me back to my senses. Without much conscious thought I pulled on my shoes and ran to the old barn in search of buckets.
Dozens of villagers helped. Quickly, we organized into a chain of young and old and strong and weak — but our efforts did nothing to stem the blaze. It would take a solid hour for a firetruck to make its way through the winding hills of the valley. Well before the flashing lights appeared there was nothing left of the church worth saving.
When the bucket party had given up, chaos spread through the crowd. The city kid, the one that had first talked about the howl of the plane at the pub — he claimed he had taken a video of the crash.
His phone, however, had shorted out and refused to turn back on.
I had seen the plane. Others, who had waited with their lights turned on, had seen the plane as well. In the chaos we did our best to support his claims, but our voices were quickly drowned out.
Verona Halčín had seized the narrative and started to preach. There had been no plane, she swore. What we had witnessed was a strike of God. He had started with snakes dropped from the sky, then he brought down a mighty storm and now, at the zenith of his rage, he had struck down the steeple of the church. Her fervor quickly shifted from abstract accusations of godlessness to finger pointing.
She said it was the kid, and other outsiders, who had tainted the village. There were voices of reason in the crowd, but they were few. With the church still burning and the crowd wild with panic Verona’s words turned to absolute fury.
The kid quickly fled.
Fearing that Verena would search for a new scapegoat, I made my exit as well.
When I returned home, I was shocked to learn that my mother had slept through the entire affair. Even as the sirens of the overdue fire truck arrived by the church, her heavy snores scarcely changed in rhythm.
I did not wake her up that night. I feared that the sudden shock might push her to the grave and, even if her heart could handle being pulled out of slumber — I couldn’t imagine how I would explain what had happened to her.
The roar from the sky was much louder than it had been the night previous. With each passing sunset the plane got closer and closer to the village. The airbus cut through the church steeple as if it was a tower of toothpicks. I dreaded to think what would happen the following night.
When my mother awoke, I brought her breakfast and tea to bed. I had no idea how to broach the subject of the low-flying airplane. At first I tried to find a way to transition from our casual morning chat to the impending danger, but when no obvious path presented itself I simply came out with it — I told my mother that an incomprehensible jet had crashed into the steeple of the church. Tonight, I told her, it would fly much lower and create untold suffering.
It was time for us to leave the village.
My mother took the confusing news with nothing but a twitch of the eyebrow. When I told her about the church, when I insisted that we get in the car and drive to the city, when I told her we were in danger — she simply shook her head. Wordlessly, she pushed away her plate, climbed out of bed and shuffled her way over to the window.
When she was still able to climb the church hill my mother had been a religious person. She had never missed Sunday mass and, whenever anyone in the family was making a change in career or undergoing surgery, she would provide nightly prayers to hedge bets with the almighty. Seeing the burnt down husk of the village church that morning, however, elicited no emotion from the woman. She simply gazed out of the window and then, almost in a whisper, said:
“Charcoal for the long winter.”
My mother wasn’t looking at the church. She was looking at the old fire station.
When I asked her to repeat herself, she acted as if she said nothing at all. I asked about my uncle, about the charcoal, about the planes — yet all she did was shake her head and pity her poor brother’s soul. Then, she quickly changed the topic of conversation. She was going to cook lunch. I was to bring her some wood for the stove.
I made a couple weak attempts at salvaging the mystery of my uncle, but my mother pretended she couldn’t hear me. The thought of staying in the village despite the imminent danger was undeniably absurd, but I knew the old woman wouldn’t get into my car willingly.
When I went outside with the wood basket it started to snow.
As we ate lunch she talked a lot more than usual. My mother had always been chatty, but age had slowed her down. By the time I had arrived in the village it was clear my mother had become unaccustomed to conversation. As we dug into the goulash though, my mother’s sentences connected and she even seemed animated. She spoke of my childhood and my dad and other family members no longer present. She even mentioned her brother.
She asked me if I remembered how scruffy his beard was.
I was happy to see my mother so animated, but I had to ask. As I brought up the airplane and the charcoal and the water spilt into the cement mixer, her face softened. This time she didn’t pretend she didn’t hear me. She shook her head and smiled and told me everything would be okay.
There was something in her voice that made me believe her.
By the time we finished off lunch the world beyond the window was white. My mother’s post-lunch nap quickly turned into deep sleep and I went out to chop some wood. With my head full of memories I drifted into the sunset.
Well before two I was sitting vigil.
Just after the sun set a handful of cars made their exit from the village. Each pair of passing headlights nudged me towards the idea of escape, yet I knew it was already too late. The hill roads that led back to civilization were already dangerous to drive through during the day. Setting out after dark was suicide.
So, I waited. With my mother snoring in the other room and the moon-lit world covered in snow, I waited for the plane to arrive. Beyond the window other homes were lit up in anticipation. Knowing that I was not the only one awaiting the arrival of that incomprehensible machine made the minutes counting down to two almost tranquil.
The first sign of that devilish rumble, however, wiped out all calmness from the world. My knees turned weak once more. All I wanted to do was curl up and avert my gaze from the incoming terror. With every ounce of courage I had, I gripped the windowsill and kept my eyes locked onto the trees beyond.
The moment the dark mammoth rose from behind the trees a flurry of pain shot through the back of my skull. It felt like someone was putting out cigarettes against the back of my eyes. The engine of the devil’s machine was so overpowering that my agonized screams were nothing but a gentle tone in the nether regions of my ears.
Each second that I spent looking out of the window was tearing away at any conscious thought that was left in my brain, but I drove my fingers into the wood of the windowsill and kept myself on my feet. I watched the black airbus descend onto the village where I had spent my youth.
I watched the black airbus head straight for the old fire station.
The moment the plane’s nose made direct contact with the cement structure a brilliant light consumed the night. Sparks were flying everywhere. The roar of the engine whimpered away and was replaced with the screech of a thousand metal grinders.
My eyes could handle the approach of the airbus, but they could not withstand the impact. Drenched in tears, they gave out along with my knees. Lying on the floor of the cottage the terror of the plane crash did not leave me. Every flicker of light that bounced in from the window seemed to be ripping the air out of my lungs. In a state of utter panic I gasped for breath and prayed that the world would return to normal.
The cacophony lasted for what felt like an eternity. I was certain that my body would give out and that I would choke in the company of those horrid flashing lights. Yet, eventually, with sudden silence — the noise stopped.
My eyes were drenched in tears and every muscle in my body was shivering, but I managed to climb up to my knees and look out of the window. The plane was gone. The plane was gone and the fire-station still stood. Next to the cement building, blending into the moon-lit night, sat a mountain of black.
I scarcely registered the charcoal before my body gave up.
I spent the whole night on the floor, drifting in and out of consciousness. Dreams never came, but when I did find myself in those brief moments of wakefulness my body refused to get up. I lay on the floor the whole night, desperately assuring myself that I was still alive.
The morning sun streaking in through the windows was a flickering candle compared to the sparks of the crash. Everything felt terribly distant and nonsensical. The universe in which an airbus could dissipate against an old cement building felt far too incomprehensible to reenter after my ordeal. It wasn’t until I found my mother standing over me in the morning that feeling returned back to my limbs.
She had started a fire in the stove and was getting ready to cook lunch. With the same tone that she would dictate chores to me as a child she ordered me to go outside and gather some charcoal.
If I wouldn’t go soon, it would all be gone.
I lacked all energy to argue or try to make sense of the world. I simply grabbed the wood basket and went out into the snow. By the time I had made my way to the old fire-station the mountain of charcoal had turned into a hill. By the time we finished eating lunch most of the stove fuel had been scavenged away.
The whole affair still puzzles me, but after that one bright night the airbus never returned. I do not know what led my uncle to pour holy water into the cement so many years ago, but I understand the purpose now. My strange uncle saved us. He saved the village from an incomprehensible machine that threatened to wipe the village off the map.
He saved us and he made sure we would be prepared for the long winter that was to come
Just checked in for my flight tomorrow night -- short 1 hour flight on an a319 -- and got the blurb about volunteering in return for vouchers or miles. Checked the seat map b/c the route I am flying is like 80% of the time run by ERJs or CRJs, so was shocked to see the message about possible overbooking. Almost all the economy seats are taken but there are like 35ish economy plus seats that united says are open. Can someone try to explain what gives?