Window Seat

The assignment for week one was to write a 250 word essay on what really frightens you. This is not my submission. It’s 257 words, and I have a lot more attempts to go before I decide on which one to use.


I pick a window seat when I fly. It’s what I’m paying for—time engaged in the pursuit of defying gravity. I like being suspended between the depths of space and familiar earth. I only know I’m moving when the plane’s shadow zips by on the checkerboard below, or when another airplane transects my field of vision like a bullet.

I think flying might be a lot like being dead, only then I won’t know where I am or where I’m going. I’ll be suspended in perpetuity with silent seat-mates, wailing babies and puke-encrusted mothers, women with too much perfume, men clinking their rings against their cans of mixer. I’ll have relinquished my fate to a pilot I don’t know, who might talk only pilot-speak in my native tongue. My comfort will have been assigned to flight attendants (no more stewardesses in the afterlife) with fake smiles who sometimes grouse at people slow to respond to directives.View from airplane window

I’m not afraid of flying. I love the tight feeling in the back of my abdomen on takeoff, and anticipate with glee the thud of the plane’s landing gear as it contacts the diminishing runway. I admit, though, that out of reverence, and possibly a little superstition, I don’t like to fly on September 11, even though the flights are often cheaper.

No, I’m not the least bit afraid of flying. What really scares me is being trapped for eternity in a window seat with a sleeping fat person next to me, and a full bladder needing to be emptied.

© 2012, Jennifer Pierce, All Rights Reserved

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