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
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
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.
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
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