JetBlue Flight 292 (Part 2)

I was slowly sobering up.

There really wasn’t anything to be afraid of while we were circling LAX.  The plane was in fine condition for flying.  It was landing that would be the problem.

I started to think about my carry on bag.  During the chaos of relocating to the back of the plane, I had left it under my original seat.  The ankh ring my mom had custom made in the 70’s was in it, along with a ring I had inherited from her mother when she died only four months earlier.  I imagined what my mom would feel like to lose her mother and daughter in the same year.  After all, she had been the one that convinced us to get on stand-by instead of paying for the 11 a.m. flight.  I couldn’t bear the thought of her blaming herself.  Then I realized that she had no way of knowing what flight Devin and I actually ended up on.  And even if she was aware that we were on flight 292, she had no way of learning about the current situation with the landing gear.

That’s when I looked past Devin across the aisle.  People were watching the televisions on the back of the headrests.  The news stations were showing coverage of an airplane flying around the sky.  Our airplane.  Okay, I thought, maybe my mom does know what’s going on.

It’s impossible to say which passenger discovered the news coverage first.  Soon, everyone’s headrest-sized screens were tuned in.  We watched ourselves fly around and around.  Reporters, staying true to their trade, didn’t have a very optimistic view.  In my mind I envisioned families sitting around big screen TVs, waiting to witness a plane crash in real-time.  I started to understand that this was not just a countdown for everyone on the flight, this was a countdown for television viewers, rescue crews, and reporters.

This was a big deal.

The man to my left wasn’t looking at his television.  He was sitting with his forehead on the window, frantically pushing buttons on his cell phone.  Suddenly I became aware of the fact that he was alone.  A lot of people on this flight might be alone.  I looked over at Devin.

“How you feeling?” I asked Devin.

“I’m okay,” he said.  “I’m really not scared.”  Devin had been in Mississippi a month earlier during Hurricane Katrina.  I guess he figured Death was coming for him one way or another.

There was a report on television that zoomed in on our faulty landing gear.  I saw the wheel turned the wrong way.  It was an unsettling sight.  I felt like I was looking down the barrel of a gun.

A flight attendant started addressing the passengers.  “Please everyone locate the exit closest to you at this time.  There are eight emergency exits…”

We had been flying around LAX for over two hours.  The flight crew kept telling us that we would be fine, but our little televisions kept telling us that we had a problem.  Considering the amount of ambulances and fire trucks awaiting our arrival, it was hard not to believe the news reports.

The pilot announced that we would be landing in approximately 30 minutes.  The notice sounded like it did on any other flight, only in my head I heard, “In 30 minutes, you might die.”

We waited.  “Fifteen minutes until landing,” the pilot said.

Devin turned his phone on.  No signal.  The televisions were turned off by the pilot.

“Ten minutes until landing.”  It was so quiet.

“Five minutes until landing.”  The flight attendants told us to keep our feet flat on the floor.  They reminded us how to brace our bodies.  I tried to fight it, but fear was consuming me.

“Flight attendants, prepare for arrival,” we heard over the intercom.

“Brace, brace, brace!…” the flight crew chanted.  Everyone put their heads down in their selected position.  I heard my own crying along with the sobbing of other passengers.  “Brace, brace, brace!…”

As the airplane approached the runway, Devin’s cell phone rang.  His ringtone was “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera.  The song distracted me; I found it a funny.  It was like the universe had a dark sense of humor, and it decided to deliver the punch line to the joke that is my life at that exact moment.  “Devin…,” I said.  My voice sounded like I was choking on tears and laughter, both of equal intensity and at the same time.

The sound of crying around me was getting louder.  I felt the back wheels of the plane touch the ground.  We were going so fast.

At any second, the pilot was going to lower the nose of the plane.

To be concluded.

Click here to read Part 1.

One Response to “JetBlue Flight 292 (Part 2)”

  1. JetBlue Flight 292 (Part 1) | Keep My Words Says:

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