Sunday, October 17, 2010

Theseus

The plane was about to land. The landscape underneath was all squares. They were mesmerizing in their proximity - feels like they are all so close, just a couple of meters away, he could not stop looking at them. This has been his favorite nightmare of all the times - inexplicable and personal, like all the nightmares are. The squares which are at an arms' length and at the same time so far that it feels frightening. He was not afraid of height, but this was not about the height - it was about the strange, magical power of the uncertainty. When he was a little kid, he would imagine throwing the ball at these squares, and whenever the ball bounced, he knew the squares were close and small - not those huge ones that are kilometers away that he was afraid of - then he would go to sleep again.

Today was different - it was window behind him and the squares, so he could not use his trick to understand where they are - and this filled him with the anxiety. Hopefully the pilot does know how high they are. And it better be those huge ones far away - otherwise there's no time even to take the position that they show during the briefing in the beginning of the flight. He remembered it was resembling the fetal position, as much as the safety belts permitted it. Maybe worth doing that just in case - but if his feeling about the height was wrong then it would look embarrassingly stupid.

Like that guy that ran with all his belongings when the fire alarm falsely rang in the middle of the night. He chuckled. In any case, if the plane would have slammed the ground, not a whole lot of the positions would help. Someone cynical once told him that the sole purpose of these positions in the airplane was to preserve the jawbones as intact as possible during the accident - then it is easier to identify the passengers, by their teeth. Like archaeologists do. Screw that, no one is waiting on either side of the route - so whether they would be able to assemble the teeth or not, does not really matter. They'll find it from the engraved label on his luggage, if they want.

Strangely, he was not afraid of the magical squares anymore - the nightmare becoming the only hope. He lost the count of time - maybe it was a second, maybe ten minutes - the time went its own ways, independent of him - it felt like an eternity. Finally he felt the shock of the wheels hitting the ground. Landed. So, it was all right after all.

The noise woke her up and she lifted her head - he was sitting on the floor, staring into the carpet. The carpet was a childhood present to her - gentle gray wool, with squared ornament. She liked it, it reminded her of labyrinth, from the favorite book of hers - the legend where the Theseus killed the Minotaur. That was how she met him - he reminded her of Theseus.

- "What's the matter, darling ?"
- "Nothing. I just fell on the floor. Sorry to have waken you up."

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