Saw them safely across

The joint is coming on strong and suddenly I miss my daughter like crazy. I need air. Step out onto the balcony and walk to the edge. It’s soft there, where the ever-dripping eaves and unclean balcony grow bright green patches of moss.

The day had been stiflingly hot. Sticky and unpleasant inside; a vicious ultraviolet hailstorm outside. Now the temperature has dropped. Only three or four degrees, but combined with a rising breeze and the searing sun fallen below our rooftop horizon, it’s refreshing.

The sky had turned beautiful too. Afternoon clouds blooming to purplegold mountains. Birds singing their nightsongs. Faint smell of summer blossoms.

Spring Street roars with endless cars, a monotony of traffic. Suddenly it is accented with a screech of tires, a chorus of horns; a narrow miss. I look over, startled, and catch sight of a plane, tiny against the eastern horizon.

Its lights are flashing against the near-dark. Sarah sees them through her window, which is just above the wing. She’s five and has never flown before. The erupting sky through the small window is otherwordly; the city rises up like a fairytale kingdom. The blinking lights make Sarah think of fairies and she wants to touch them. She imagines crawling out onto the wing and feels giddy.

Sarah’s mother Lily watches her daughter, but her mind is a cacophony. I will break up with him as soon as we’re home no that would upset Sarah but tonight definitely tonight oh but then she’s back at school tomorrow and how’s the morning going to be that’s rough to do it that way maybe after the weekend oh but then it’s his birthday soon definitely soon but after that but soon definitely soon.

Terry has come from his step-father’s funeral. It was a simple, beautiful ceremony and, with all Jacques’ friends around and all that singing, it felt like the old man was there, sitting quietly among them. Terry felt such peace at the funeral that he never even cried. He smiled most of the ceremony. On the plane the staff are friendly, and the drinks are free, and the in-flight movie is good, but he doesn’t feel Jacques there anymore. He weeps unwillingly. Quiet, but much louder than he would like. I’ll never see the old man again. I really loved him.

Georgette and Luisa are both asleep. They met just the day before. Luisa, a backpacker in Georgette’s Parisian neighbourhood, bought her drinks and took her to bed. Afterwards, they stayed up most of the night doing cheap gak and drinking box wine, talking. At some point they booked tickets to Melbourne and packed in a state of psychotic break, then somehow managed to wake up with their alarms and get to their plane.

They drank three wines each and tried to watch a movie. The speed wore off and they passed out. The plane jolts in sudden turbulence and Luisa’s eyes open wide. ¿Donde diablos estoy?

Before I can see what happens next the plane is out of sight, behind the neighbours’ roof. I laugh at myself even as the tender thought appears: I saw them safely across the sky.

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