Note from Author
"Did She Get on The Plane?" is a microfiction piece I wrote when I was terrified of flying. I had just gone through a difficult and terrifying series of flights, and was forced to write about it for one of my college classes. The Conversation between Ellie and Tony is completely fictional and did not happen in real life.... *crosses fingers behind back* I swear.
Did She Get On The Plane?
Ellie hopped on her suitcase in one final thrust. A grunt could be heard over the entire apartment while she begged and pleaded. “Close,” she said and grunted again, “Close you humongous piece of-” she stopped herself.
Right. She wasn’t going to curse. Cursing and stress went together. It would raise her blood pressure. Cause a coronary.
She looked down at her watch and took in an unsteady breath. Her heartbeat was set just below 120. Anxiety curdled the fluid around her chest and stomach. Was it blood? Was it water? Bile? It didn’t matter, she decided. It was just curdled. Cottage cheese was the making of her insides and it was churning throughout her body over and over. The thought brought up a gag and a jolted hand. “Ew,” she said. “On top of everything I have to throw up now?”
She pushed the thought down, swallowed it whole and returned to the luggage. She worked the zipper around the last bend of the suitcase, her fingers aching. Zipping wasn’t usually a very satisfying feeling for her, but Ellie had sunk the last twenty minutes into closing that giant purple puke rectangle. Closing that sucker was like arising from a wary victory. The prize? Certain death.
Her efforts were for a business trip she didn’t want to attend. On a night with horrible weather. With friends soon to be demoted to acquaintances. And for a boss she was reporting for sexual harassment.
“All in all, a shit show,” she said. “Oop,” she caught herself. “Damn- Oop.” She said and lifted her head. She sighed and gave up.
Tony meowed at her from the corner. She looked over, his disapproving look sending chills over her body.
You can’t do it, he said to her.
“I can do it,” She argued.
No. You can’t, his eyes answered back.
“I can get on the plane, Tony,” She rolled her eyes and jerked her suitcase off the bed. It cocked itself high and planted a wheel in her shin. “Oh,” She dropped the suitcase, and allowed a flow of syllables to ride out in her breath. Her next inhale was straggled. Pitiful and sharp.
“Oooooo,” she belted grabbing her leg and hopped around a couple times. She stomped her foot down and kicked her suitcase, “Stupid, purple, over-sized death trap,” she said. She kicked it a few more times until Tony meowed again.
She had to get on a plane for the business trip. She had to sit in a steal trap, 30,000 feet in the air with whirring engines, recycled air, and chatty Kathies. Tony stared at her, his eyes condemning her to the truth that she couldn’t get on the plane. She was terrified of flying. Her thighs sweat at the thought of just boarding the plan. She nearly passed out if she thought about the take off. And the landing.
Ellie gripped her head, “I need air,” she said.
You need xanax, Tony moewed at her.
"Xanax,” She nodded. “You’re right.” She grabbed her bottle off her nightstand and put it in her jacket pocket. She looked at Tony, her eyes welling with tears. “Well, it’s been nice bud. We had a few good years together.”
Tony stared in a reminder that it was just a three-hour flight.
Ellie’s bottom lip wobbled. “I just want you to know-”
He lowered his head onto his paw, his face stoic.
“That you were the greatest cat any one ever had and when-” she lifted her head and gripped her chest, “If. If I die tonight, my mom will take care of you. She won’t love you like me. You’ll have to give up kitty ice-cream and those treats you like that I get imported, but she’ll feed at the right times and take you out for your walks. I’d have loved you 300 times more than her, but you’ll survive.”
She shook her head. “It’s okay bud,” she went to him to give him a final pet. “I’m going to miss you too.”
Ellie gathered her things and locked up the apartment. She shook as she did it. Her hand wobbled so much, she took three tries to insert the key in her lock. She turned to the staircase and began dragging her suitcase down.
Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. The weather would calm down. The pilot would be in control of the plan the whole time. They’d take the care to fly it easy and smooth. And it was only a three-hour flight. It would be over in a movie and a snack. Maybe some music and wine. She could treat herself. It would be like a break from the real world.
Ellie smiled at the thought. A break sounded nice.
She opened the door to the outside and smiled. “I can do this,” she announced, confidence radiating over her. “I can actually-”
Lightning flashed. A crack of thunder sounded so loud, car alarms went off around her. Ellie let out a wild scream, her eyes bursting out of her skull and her mouth flung open.
“I think not,” she shouted, then turned back to her apartment and quit on the spot.