at the bottom of everything
She tries to talk with the man sitting next to her but he doesn’t look her way, even when she says hello. The magazine in her lap makes her feel sick, not just because of the motion but the content. Her leg doesn’t stop jiggling and she thinks, only a couple more hours.
Suddenly, there’s a bang and the screech of metal on metal and the ringing in her ear pauses long enough for her to stop shaking her leg… The pilot gets on the P.A. system and he’s saying “I’m sorry…I’m so sorry, oh god,” before the sound cuts off and they’re falling from the clouds, falling out of the sky.
She asks the man next to her, “Where are we going?” And he finally looks at her. His eyes are the same brown of her dog’s coat, and she wonders if he’s getting taken care of. He says, “We’re going to have a party,” and the oxygen masks expel from above their heads, “it’s your birthday party, happy birthday, happy birthday sweetie.” She smiles and pulls him into a tight hug that lasts almost a whole year.
When they tug away from each other, she can see he’s smiling too. She wants to laugh but she knows she’s got to be quiet if she wants to blow out her birthday candles, cos it’s her birthday.
He leans in again, close to her ear to say, “We love you very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.” She giggles and presses a hand over her mouth. Quiet, quiet. They start to sing a song, it’s like the birthday song but more exciting cos they can talk about how much they can move without moving at all and it’s better than presents on Christmas day–even though she never celebrated Christmas, but she’s seen it in movies and that’s enough to know the concept. They hum together, smiling, holding hands, and here comes the cake! It has white frosting and blue sprinkles and smells like honey and milk.
The song lasts over forty months and by the time they’re done, someone’s passed at the cake and they’re so close to the ground, she’d like to thank everyone for throwing her birthday party. Thank you, thank you. Thank you so very much.