“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Indigo welcomes you to Flight 6E 188…”
I shut my eyes and succeed in blocking the stewardess’ face from my head but do not succeed in keeping the automated voice out. I twist my torso and find a comfortable position, and let the voice wash over me. It must have been the quickest I fell asleep in a while and even in my state of slumber, I am surprised.
From a distant universe, a faint voice asks to be excused. My heart beats faster as this intrusion in my dreamless state of being is not very different from the feeling elicited when finger nails scratch a black board. It also reminds me of the times when my room mate would grind her teeth in her sleep and how the sound would make me bite my pillow and taste the cotton, and how I would pray for the sound to stop- I’d do anything, Lord, please just make it stop.
I open one eye to see a very pretty stewardess, with a tentative finger inches away from my shoulder, and a heavyset man with an apologetic face, gesturing that his seat was next to mine. I wordlessly get up, make way, and seat myself back. My new found neighbour makes himself comfortable, and just as I struggle to go back to sleep, his elbow invades my seat space and jabs my ribs.
“Ow- excuse me!”
He is overcome by a fit of loud and piercing cough. I turn my back to him with serpentine flexibility, preparing to drool on the back rest when another passenger seeks my neighbour’s attention.
I delegate one eye and one ear to understand the source of conflict.
Words are exchanged. The pretty stewardess arrives again and my belief in God is reaffirmed. My neighbour misread his seat, and is guided to the right seat. I get up, make way and seat myself, again.
I relegate thirst that is gnawing at my neck to the back of my head and beg sleep to give me another chance. Between the taunts of the sun that is shining too bright and the air conditioning that is too cold, I fitfully dream of UV rays, of snowmen and of me touching the sun.
I am awoken by the aroma of expensive food served to corporate flyers and am momentarily distracted by the clouds. I gulp some water down and shut my eyes but my neck and knees hurt now. I swallow a groan and unsuccessfully try to ignore the crew that is now persuading the passengers to try the on-board gifting options and requesting that they throw the waste in the garbage bag that would be brought along. I yawn about ten times in less than a minute and my jaws start to hurt too, now.
I refuse to look at my watch, but the way my insides flip as we lose altitude tells me sleep time is over. I sulk as the wheels hit the ground and we are lifted a few inches from our seats. As soon as I switch my phone on, N calls.
“I couldn’t sleep as well as I did last time” I mumble to N. In response, he makes the right sounds- concerned and apologetic.
I walk out and book a cab. “Mount road, newspaper office” I tell the driver.
My day has just begun.