Note: I have chosen to write this as though it were fiction because I needed to write something for my writer’s group on Sunday. But it’s a true story. Enjoy.
For a reason that defied her ability to figure it out, she was a little bit nervous about the plane ride home. They had good seats, 5 or 6 rows back. He was sitting next to her, dozing on and off. She had her nose buried in her Kindle, reading “Torch” by Cheryl Strayed.
They had eaten before they boarded the plane for the 3 ½ hour flight home. It would be a long time to sit still. At the last moment, he’d run back to the shopping area of the terminal and bought two inflatable neck pillows. After all, it was 6:30 in Denver, but it would be 12:30 by the time they got to Tampa, and anything that might help them to catch a few zz’s would be welcome.
They’d been to see their kids. His daughter had a new boyfriend. Her son had a not new girlfriend, but she had not met her yet, or her 7-year-old daughter. They had rented a car, and then had to deal with the stress of driving a car they were unfamiliar with, on roads and highways they were unfamiliar with. So, the trip had its stressors on top of the normal stress of traveling 2000 miles to see your only kid.
Now, sitting in their seats while the flight attendant gave the safety talk, she closed her eyes, with the kindle laying in her lap, and quietly let out a long deep sigh. It was done, this fact-finding mission out west, tempered with wanting to see their kids after many months. She talked to her son every day. She knew he was ok, she was part of his life. But, nothing beats a warm, smooky hug from your kid.
Well, almost nothing, she thought glancing at the man dozing next to her, the arm-rest raised between them. She squeezed his hand, he squeezed back, and fell back into his rhythmic half-sleep breathing, somewhere between a deep breath and a snore. The flight attendants sat down, and the plane began to roll. Behind her closed eyes, she was repeating whatever came into her head: Ho’oponopono, the Buddhist Metta Prayer, So Hum, Aham Brahmasmi….over and over until she heard the wheels retract and the plane leveled off . It was just her way.
She finally opened her kindle, and as she did the lights in the cabin dimmed. Most of the side ports were closed, shades down. It was very dark in the plane, save the lights for the bathroom and up at the flight attendants station.
As she was reading, she became aware of some movement in the dark, in her peripheral vision. She looked up, but nothing there was moving. She went back to the book, and the movement, a formless shadow within the shadow, again edged into her peripheral vision. And again, and again. Everytime she went back to her kindle, she was aware of movements in the dark. What were these? Was she really that tired that she was seeing things? The flight attendants were not walking around, because when they did, the cabin lights were turned on again. But she swore that something was moving in the aisle, a row or two ahead of her.
She decided to close the kindle and focus on the energy of these movements in the dark. She was reminded of the time the 4 spirits came to her during a gong bath. On the way to this gong bath, years ago, she’d been deep in thought about the 4 spirits, the subject of Sena Jeter Naslund’s book of that name. It was about the 4 little girls who died in the bombing of a Birmingham church in the 1960s. Deep in her meditation that night, she had been out of her body, above it, and had seen 4 formless entities hovering over her as she lay on the floor while the gongs and crystal bowls played. When she was brought out of the meditation, the conversation going on among other participants at the gong bath was about spirits in the room, and how the veil is thin in a church (the gong bath was in the Unity Church), making it easier for the spirits to cross over to this realm. Totally veryifying the experience she’d just had as she lay silently, trying to absorb it all.
This time, though, she was not in a meditative state. She was just reading, and anxious to get home. She didn’t sense anything sinister about these entities any more than she had about the 4 spirits. To the contrary, their energy was peaceful and relaxing. She wondered if maybe they were a response from that realm to her brief but sincere meditation as the plane took off. At least, she thought, she didn’t see anyone or anything wing-walking and waving to her! But she definitely felt there was something, some kind of entity, there, in the plane, hanging around. And she chose to believe it was there to watch out for her, for all the passengers on that plane. It calmed and reassured her.
She finally dozed off, leaning her head on her travel pillow, her hand loosely holding his hand as he continued to snore softly.
Eventually, the plane landed, a nice soft landing. No bouncing the full plane and shaking people in the dark. It was 12:30 in the morning, and they were home safe and sound.
Their bags took forever to come around on the belt, but they finally did. Then they managed to find the Uber driver who would take them home. She was taken aback by the smell of cigarettes in the car, which they would have to endure for the ride home. Luckily, it was only about a 20 minute ride from the airport. It was about 1:30 AM by now, and the streets of St. Pete were deserted.
It was good to be home.