The sun hasn’t risen on my first morning back home in Arizona, yet I am dutifully unpacking my suitcase and putting my clothes away because Minnesota brings out the dutiful in me. I find quick pride in shaking out smashed and wrinkled t-shirts, refolding them and stacking them on my t-shirt shelf in the closet. My blue light casts a calmness over my bedroom, and I think how lucky I am to be in such a peaceful spot, doing easy but useful work, coffee in my favorite cup, my three kitties still waking up.
I reach into my carry-on bag and pull out a stack of unread magazines. With them comes a large cheery-looking, glossy-red Delta pamphlet titled “BE SAFE”. Hm. Where did that come from? They’re always stickin’ somethin’ in your bag. Then I think, This isn’t glossy. It’s waterproof.
I determine that the shiny, oversized cherry-red pamphlet must have come along with all the other reading material I stuck into the back of the seat ahead of me, dutifully preparing to feed my brain on the flight home, and then pulled out and stuffed back into my carry-on when I woke up in Phoenix. Now in my innocent pajamas, I hold the shiny, oversized, cherry-red BE SAFE pamphlet and it might as well be the biggest and prettiest Christmas card I received. I open the first flap to see a cute little white bag inserted within; it reads “FEEL BETTER”. I do.
I open the other flap and my eyes are immediately drawn to the cartoon picture of a black plane angled down towards what appear to be the rolling spring-green hills of Ireland. The next cartoon picture is of a black plane angled down towards what can’t be denied is the ocean. It’s too early in the morning to think negatively, and since there are only cartoons and very few words, I let my mind tell the story:
I wonder why that guy is lookin’ out the window. Looks like a pretty smoky fire. I wouldn’t wear my stiletto heels on the plane either. I need a new book bag too. That woman looks likes she’s about to use taekwondo on her microwave. That man is picking a strange time to lint-roll his sweater. Too bad all the seats couldn’t have been that pretty blue. Why is that man waving out the window? Oh no, where is that woman going? She’d have a much better chance with a parachute. Oh, so now everybody’s sliding to safety. Why didn’t they just do that in the first place? And with people standing on the ground like that, which is nice and safe and everything, why is that same woman in the purple skirt now barefoot in a raft with two redheaded twins and a black guy? This is kind of like that Survivor show. No—the crash-landing one. Somebody’s already fishin’. Must be a plane from Minnesota.
I fold up the Christmassy pamphlet and tuck the cute little white bag inside, but not without the message on the envelope’s other side popping out at me: “I’LL BE BACK". I can’t help but smile and laugh. It’s the first time I’ve laughed in what seems like a very long time.