No Air

April 16, 2015 stephhwilliams 0 Comments

I don’t travel well. I like the idea of going places, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned and that sends my anxiety into overdrive. I used to say it was because traveling with small children was hard. Well,  the kids aren’t small anymore, and I stress even when they’re not with me.

Take this trip for instance. I’m heading to Phoenix to join Bryan, who’s been at a conference, for the weekend. From Little Rock to Phoenix by way of Atlanta;  my brain just can’t take the contradiction.

Sitting at the gate waiting to board with what seemed like a thousand other people, I started to get hot and feel claustrophobic. Once on board the feeling only intensified, of course.

Middle seat.

Stale air with a hint of something foul.

How could I write here? With nothing but the back of a seat as my view?20150416_165141

You see, I’d made a date with my character (the one I mentioned yesterday);  we were going to have the hour and a half flight to ourselves. But cramped between two others, how would my words breath, much less me? And how will this relationship thrive if I’m already breaking dates?

Panic rose in my chest as I watched the flight attendant attempt to assist another passenger cram a puffy orange carryon into an overhead bin. Suddenly I felt puffy and orange.

I put one earbud in thinking the music would soothe me as we began to taxi and the smell took form and expanded around me. A few minutes later, the pilot’s voice filled the air with words like “pull over on the runway” and “thank you for your patience.” I put the other earbud in and clenched my eyes shut as my playlist began.

I’ve always had eclectic taste in music. Genre isn’t as important to me as long the words move me as much as the music.

I began to relax near the end of Red Light and started to feel like I could take on the world again with Sing for a Moment.

My foot began to tap and my mood improve with every beat of Paralyzer.

As Mad World faded into oblivion, I unclenched my closed eyelids and took a deep breath.

Uh oh, bad move.

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