Did it begin, or did it end.

Sunday night, I had a dream. I usually don’t dream. And when I do, I vaguely remember that there was a movie playing in my head, but I will have no recollection of any scene, no audio, no video, nothing.

Wonder of wonders, I wake up Monday morning, and I have a vivid recollection of the movie that played. It was in full colour, but there was no audio. There was an airplane. And besides me, there were hundreds of people in the dream. I remember only one person, this girl, N. 

It was a rather large airplane, packed with people, buckled in, prepared for takeoff. I found myself standing in the aisle, beside N, who was seated in the aisle seat of the very last row. She was panicking, like a first time air-traveller, unwilling to let go off my hand, and pleading me to take her off the plane. The others seated around were looking at her. Or were they looking at me? I was saying something to her, trying to pacify her, to calm her down; after all, I was the pilot. 

I could see in her eyes that she was trying to fight her fears, and her tears. I spoke for several minutes. When the stares from around us became too hot to handle, and I realised it was getting late, I looked at her to tell her that I had to go, to take everybody to their destination, and tried to free my hands from her ever tightening grip. After a moment, she let go reluctantly, and before I had moved, two drops of precious appeared out of the corner of her right eye. I dropped to my knees, wiped them away quickly, and held her face between my palms, not saying anything, just looking at her, not knowing what to speak, and only hoping that she’ll see in my eyes that it’s all going to be ok.
The engines had probably started to roar at full power, but the vibration didn’t grab my attention. Then, the plane started rolling on its wheels. That knocked me off balance. It shocked me, the plane was moving! I tore myself away from N, and started to run towards the front of the aisle. By the time I reached the cockpit door, it had picked up speed. I tried to open the door, but it was locked.

There was no big flash of light or the super heated flames from the aviation fuel, just a shockwave going through my body. The explosion must have been deafening, like thunder. The airplane stopped moving, and it fell with a reverberating thud, knocking me down onto the floor. And quite abruptly, all movement abated. I turned around, and found the rest of the airplane in several pieces, wires hanging from everywhere, and the distinct yellow of the oxygen masks. Strangely, all the passengers had disappeared, along with their seats, and the luggage that was stowed in the overhead bins. The airplane was now like a long tunnel, with alternating lit and dark sections, a mess of electrical wires, oxygen masks dangling in mid air, and a light haze.

I started running through the tattered body, towards the rear, like that was the sole purpose of my life now, to run to the back of the airplane. I reached there in no time. And there she was, sitting on the floor, face burrowed in her knees and hands clutching her little black bag. I sat down beside her. She was sobbing quietly. I said nothing, just put my arms around her and huddled up, and cried.

Mayur Poddar

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