The plane cut through a skein of dark-gray cloud, through a layer of liquid light, into another cloud that started as dark as steel wool, then thickened to gray and turned slowly white. In a moment, they would be free of it.
—-Anne Enright, The Weight
Today’s short short story, a piece of flash fiction.
The Weight by Anne Enright
from The New Yorker
I have flown on airliners a lot, have flown all my life. I have no fear of flying. My fear is driving to the airport, or getting through security, or missing my plane. Once I’m in the seat, I relax. A lot of it is that once I’m in that seat with the belt on – my responsibilities are over. Nothing I do or don’t do will influence the crash-free-ness of the voyage, one way or another. I think that is why so many people are afraid of flying (other than the fact that you are in a metal tube hurtling through the air at an insane speed miles above the earth) is that you are helpless. I don’t feel helpless – I feel relieved that it’s someone else’s responsibility… for a change.
This story captures clearly what it feels like (I suppose) when things don’t go as planned. There is a line you move down from relaxation to unease to fear to terror… when there is turbulence, for example. This flash fiction piece moves a long way down the line in a hurry.
How far does it go? You can find out in a few minutes.