Down in Flames


IT was going to be okay. Over the screams and cursing and prayers, I heard a calm voice say it. My own.


It was going to be okay, because I knew in those final moments that I’d accomplished the impossible. A nearly three-hour flight had been a nearly complete failure. Id been desperately making small talk with the passenger next to me. The one I knew I loved the moment she took the window seat I’d offered. The one I’d fallen for, the moment our eyes met, the moment I’d seen our endless future together.


I’d politely and determinedly tried to connect with her. She circumvented every inroad I tried to make. She didn’t like the same colors, the same flavor ice cream, the same foods, the same television shows or movies. She hated classical music; a minor victory for me, since I’d only feigned interest in it to impress her.


But I hadn’t impressed her, not one bit. I could tell that I had amused her thoroughly. The hours flew by until we had only seconds left.


The plane was in freefall; impact with the ground we’d be buried beneath less than a minute away.


She leaned toward me, and I knew we’d always be together. In slow motion, she reached for my hand, prepared to say her final words to me in this life. I smiled, knowing what they’d be.


Her hand clutched the armrest, and she leaned close so I could hear her over the cacophony.


“Your socks are hideous.”


I’ll never take them off.