Wallace Page 8
    He looked around towards the staircase, listening for a moment, and then took a sip of coffee. The screams faded. "They should be down in another ten minutes or so."
    Fifteen minutes later, the boys marched down in matching navy blazers and tan slacks; the girl wore a purple velvet dress; all three looked miserable. Clarissa came slowly after them, a forced smile spanning her face. "Here we are! Is everyone ready to go?"

    The flight attendant finds me hiding in the back next to the emergency exit door. "We're going to be landing shortly, sir. Please go back to your seat."
    "You sure there isn't another place to sit?"
    She shakes her head, as if she's almost sorry for me.
So I find my way back to aisle 15 and squeeze past the old man. I bump the blanket, and it almost falls off, but I catch it and pull it over his face.

"You can't imagine how much I appreciate that," he says, once I've settled back into my seat. "I'd really hate to give the other passengers a scare."
    Well, you're kind of scaring me. I turn away. I feel really tired but know that sleeping now is impossible.
    "And I don't mean to scare you if I am-I just wanted to tell you something before we landed and you went on with your life." He took a long breath. "Get some sleep so you don't die of a hemorrhage, too." The plane jumps and he turns away. The rest of the flight, he is silent.

    That night, after the funeral and reception, after the weeping guests left, after Sam went to the basement to check his email, after the kids~one, two, three~had all been rounded-up, wrestled into pajamas, and tucked underneath spaceship, cowboy, and Diva Starz blankets, after the stacks of "good" dishes had been half scrubbed and crammed into the dishwasher, Clarissa crashed on the