I see the thing above me and think, in this order:
This I can get behind.
Which is to say, I sense the change within. It is a giant fireball against the night sky and I am alone, driving but not really, and I feel myself tugged, call it compelled to the crash site. We’re told our world is one in which airplanes go down, that they plummet, but seeing it like this, my mind itself is broadened. Do you want to know the situation? It is simple and unexceptional. Earlier I’d been at the funeral for a childhood friend, my closest and oldest in this world, and then, once she was sequestered inside of it, I took the opportunity to move across the earth as rapidly as I could. I got into my car. I completed the necessary steps for movement unguided. And the sequence continues: now here’s me leaping from my car and running into the fire. Flames like washed red watercolor in thick fog. There’s heat on my face, the heat radiates and I’m still quite a ways from the plane. This is turning into a rescue situation, I realize. And while running I notice how my suit, which is my only suit, feels like something engineered for protection in just these circumstances. It is going so well, for a rescue! Survivors are limping and crawling out, ecstatic to be alive, a new lease on life. I am more and more compelled toward the fire. I am drawn. My bar mitzvah suit, as a matter of fact, which fits well enough when I am still but pinches oddly as I run. It will, I can tell, chafe. Smoke prevails, thick as foam. One of the first faces I see is a woman, and her body is limp totally. This is a no-brainer: I will rescue this woman first. Flames, smoke, char, basically everywhere. I kneel to unfasten her belt and can smell her, and I know that I’m kneeling. I struggle her onto my shoulder and carry her down the broken aisle, and my instinct is to cover her mouth. Then I wonder if covering her mouth might kill her? But moot point! Both of my hands are occupied with carrying until outside I lower us both to the ground, and the ground is smoldering. I’ve never had a reason for this word before. It feels new in my head. I kneel over her and watch her eyes gradually open and survey the scene. She looks at me! Then the plane, then me again. She seems okay. She seems kind and, I think, intelligent. She is very smart and lovely and loves her mother and scratches her lover’s back without prompting. I cannot believe how smart this woman looks. And I’m proud because you can’t unrescue someone once it is done, no matter how brutish, how terrible, how beastly.
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