“The next flight will be in one hour,” a man’s voice blared from the speakers in the small airport’s lounge.
“How did you find out about these special flights” a young woman asked the elderly man sitting next to her. He straightened up in his seat, and said someone – a stranger – gave him a free ticket when he was wandering around the streets looking for eats.
“I’m a traveling man,” he said, as he ran his thin fingers through the silver wisp on the top of his head. “Been there, and done that,” the old man claimed with pride in his voice.
“That’s funny,” the young woman said. “A stranger gave me a free ticket too.”
After that they sat in silence as more passengers slowly arrived. The plane only held twelve passengers at a time. They were all there when a green light above the outside door – leading to the tiny runway that led to the waiting plane – blinked on and off.
An airline employee opened the door and gestured for the group to come over and hand her their tickets. This was done quickly and efficiently. Fog was settling in as the group followed a waiting guide with a flashlight towards the plane. They could hear it’s props whirring in the growing dusk.
The passengers approached the temporary stairs leading up into the plane. Two workers stood on either side with flashlights, waiting to roll them away after the last passenger boarded.
One-by-one they walked up the steps and disappeared inside. There were no stewardess, or stewards. The pilot’s voice came over the inner com and asked everyone to buckle up their seatbelts. A moment later he appeared from the front cabin, closing and locking the passenger door.
“Seems odd that we’d take off this late and in the fog,” the young woman said out loud.
Someone in another seat said, “Don’t worry about it! It’s better than the alternative. Am I right?” he asked the passenger next to him, a frail man with nervous eyes.
“Yes…I suppose so,” the thin man meekly agreed.
“Doesn’t anyone wonder how we ended up here?” the young woman asked the old man next to her.
“Most know,” he replied. “Some are slower to accept what happened, however.”
“What happened?” the young woman demanded.
“That chap that gave you this plane ticket was death granting you a final fantasy before taking you forever into his gloomy realms.”
“I still don’t get it. What’s my fantasy then?” she asked.
“The same as all of ours. To escape death even though we know we’re going to die someday. These flights of fantasy help keep us grounded up here,” the old man said, while pointing at his nearly bald head.
As It Stands, I think we all secretly harbor the fantasy we won’t die.