When that infant two rows behind you keeps screaming its lungs out throughout the flight, across seventeen hundred miles. A brief pause every now and then, when exhaustion takes over. But you know it’ll soon start again.
And you think: All that effort. For what?
You can no longer recall where you boarded the plane or where you’re headed to. There must have been a reason for your journey. You try to concentrate, to remember, but all there is is that desperate and constant shriek from two rows behind.
Triggered by a basic need — in all likelihood. Food, sleep, warmth, a familiar smell, a soothing voice. A profound desire for a gentle stroke, perhaps.
And you think: Whoever brought that infant on the plane should tell it. That it’s not worth it. The battle to keep alive. As someone should have told you. Too long a shot. You’ll never make it.
The sudden silence, two rows behind, is welcome and disturbing at once. Unsettling, as it was not expected.
A woman brushes by you, much too close, you have an aisle seat. Carrying a fleece blanket wrapped around something small, a foot dangling. Wrinkled, blueish in colour.
The silence persists.
You wake up the words of your captain speaking through the PA system. Please everyone stay seated, we have an urgent medical situation on board. Disembarkation will be halted until after the emergency team has handled the situation.
All that effort. The struggle to keep going. For what, really?