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Kitchen Sink

PROMPTuesday #239: Fear Itself

June 16th, 2015

I pack robotically. Put shampoo in small bottles, stack underwear, throw toiletries in a carry-on. The whole time I’m thinking I won’t be back to return everything to its rightful place. A sharp ache has plagued my stomach since I booked my flight to New York, and it won’t leave until I’ve taken off and landed safely both times (please God let me live).


Upon taking my aisle seat, I’ll clutch my mom’s rosary and picture, as I do. I’ll recite 100 prayers 100 times, often not stopping until I’m back on solid ground. I’ll rock back and forth, hitting my head on the seat in front of me; I’ll unstrap my seatbelt immediately on take-off and ignore the flight attendants who tell me to sit down. I fight the plane’s upward motion knocking me down. But I’m not stopping. I’m going to the bathroom. It’s the only control I have.


As soon as I can, I’ll order wine. I took a Xanax an hour ago, but adrenaline won’t allow my phobia’s edges to soften. If the plane hits a rough patch, I’ll collapse on the inside. On the outside, I’ll grab your hand if you’re seated next to me. It’s never intentional. It’s a knee-jerk response that has elicited as many dirty looks as it has sympathetic ones.


I’m in the middle of a Hail Mary. I’m convinced I’m going to die. I make promises. Let me survive and I’ll finish my book. I’ll be a better mom. I’ll follow my bliss. Make something out of my life.


I order another glass of wine. I try to let a magazine’s pages catch my interest. My head is pounding, my eyes are dry, my heart is jumping, and I’m still with the praying.


I don’t let myself envision the vacation ahead. That would tempt fate. Don’t think of landing until you’ve landed.


I don’t care if my shampoo explodes over my underwear, or if my carry-on is lost.


I just want to live. I just want to live. I just want to live.


What do you fear?


Here are the PROMPTuesday rules:

  • Respond to the prompt by posting your response in the comments section.
  • Write your response in 10 minutes of less – don’t stylize it or agonize over it or overthink it.

I posted my response above! (I fly next week. Pray for me?)


On July 7th, 2015, Bun Karyudo said:

I’m okay with the flying part of using airplanes, but I find the meals they serve in economy class fairly terrifying.

It’s usually some hideous mass of gelatinous gloop staring at me from out of a plastic tray. I’m never very sure which of us is going to eat the other first.

I usually try prodding it with my plastic spoon a couple of times to make sure it’s safe, but keeping my plastic fork at the ready just in case I suddenly have to fend it off.

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