i had a dream last night
I had another airplane dream last night.
We were outside a small church, decked out in gowns and black ties. The day was gloomy, or perhaps it was the time between twilight and full sunset when the world has a thin film of darkness covering it. I wasn't sure and kept looking at my watch, trying to determine if it was day or evening. The face on my watch was empty, though. Just a blank white spot where the numbers should have been. I shrugged it off as I walked over to the limo parked at the curb. We would be headed to a party at some ridiculously priced banquet hall. Someone said there would be live chickens that we could slay ourselves. I asked the person, who uses the word "slay" anymore? The person - whom I believe was distantly related cousin - you alway say "slay" when you're talking about live chickens. Or people.
A thunder head exploded above and I hiked up the bottom of my gown, expecting a sudden deluge of rain to flood the ground. I waited. I looked towards the sky. To my complete horror, I spotted a jumbo jet not too far above us (why was I the only one not oblivious to the plane and noise it was making?). The jet was upside down and clearly in deep trouble. I waved my hands around like a court jester, doing an odd sort of hopping from one foot to the other dance, pointing at the sky. My voice would not work.
Finally, I got everyone's attention and they let out a collective gasp as we watched the jet sink towards the earth, making a sound like a thousand whistles being blown in your ear at once. We knew it would crash right near us, yet not one of us moved, we just watched with mouths hung wide open.
It made a final, shuddery descent and landed on the well-trimmed lawns on the block east of the church; the plane must have taken up about five of these lawns all together, and the homeowners came out of their houses, all at the same time in some kind of synchronized fit of anger, and they all shook their fists in the air and cursed the pilot of the plane.
I ran with the rest of the wedding guests toward the plane. The pilot was emerging from wreckage when we got there, dazed and a bit scratched up. He asked for a drink. A Harvey Wallbanger, to be precise. One of the fist-shaking neighbors ran into his home to see if he had the correct ingredients.
We waited for the plane to blow up. While everyone else ordered drinks and examined their demolished gardens, those of us in the black-tie wedding attire just waited. A fireman arrived - just one - and he opened the gas tank of the plane as if it were the gas tank on a car, just right there on the side of the machine, and he declared that while the plane was almost out of gas, the fumes were very strong and might ignite the plane, so we should think about leaving.
We stood still. I watched the neighbors stir drinks and fight over who was going to pay to fix the begonias. I watched them organize a volleyball tournament and take out their garbage. And the plane, smoldering now, sat on their lawns, with one lone fireman trying his damndest to get the passengers out.
I thought it was odd that there was no screaming coming from inside the plane. I mentioned this to my cousin, standing next to me in a tuxedo, holding a beer. Oh, they were dead before the plane came down. This shocked me so much that I started crying. I ran to the fireman and told him to forget the people inside, we just needed to get away from the plane before it finally blew. He nodded sadly, took my hand and we walked away. We walked past the crowd of wedding people that I came with. We walked past the neighbors, now playing bocci ball. We walked past the church and past the limo and I remarked to the fireman that I needed to find a computer to get this story out, or at least tell my first person account of it. He told me not to bother, that nobody would really care and the people that might have cared were going to be in no position to be reading blogs and newspapers come morning.
I felt this hatred rise into my throat. I could taste it. It was like a lump of acidy oatmeal, just rising up and down from throat to stomach. I wanted to turn back, run back to the scene of the crash and scream at those neighbors who were so indifferent to the wreckage of a filled to capacity jumbo jet on their lawns. I spit on the ground to get the tastes of acid and hate out of my mouth and my spit burned a hole in the sidewalk. I grabbed the fireman's hand. I told him we had to go back. We had to do what we could, even if the passengers were dead. We had to find all the people who were at the wedding with me and make them see that there would be other planes. He reluctantly took my hand and walked with me.
When we got back, the plane was in flames. All my wedding companions were gathered in a circle, crying. The neighbors played volleyball by the light of the fire, the flickering of the flames throwing weird shadows against the sides of their houses, like a dance of the macabre. Music played somewhere. Shadows swayed. Flames leapt. Children shouted. And I stood still, waiting for the sound of sirens or helicopters or something that would tell me that there was still some shred of normalcy somewhere.
The dream stayed at that spot for a while, as if someone had hit the pause button. I woke myself up.