It was the last Friday of summer and I was packing up all my clothes and anything I would need for the school year. This has now been the second time I’ve had to do this since the big divorce. It had just been about two years since that day when my parents sat me down and told me they were getting divorced. I had burst into tears and run upstairs to my room. At the time I was about 11. Through the years I had gotten used to the fact that my parents weren’t together anymore. My dad had moved out and into a small little house while my mom had stayed right where the three of us used to live. After time my dad moved again, this time to Orlando, Florida. I was especially unhappy about this move because it meant that I wouldn’t be able to see him as often as I used to because he would be in Florida and my mom lived in Michigan. We worked out between my mom and dad that I would be with my dad during summer break and I would be with my mom during the school year. I was still sad that I wouldn’t be able to see my dad as often as I used to but I was sort of excited for Florida.
**Three years later**
I run swiftly to the bathroom trying to find my hair curler and flat iron. I smell the familiar scent of burning as I reach the bathroom. I yank out the flat iron’s plug. Someday I swear I’m going to forget to unplug it in time and I will burn the house down. “Marie, are you almost ready?” my dad shouts.
“Yes, I will be ready in 10 seconds.” I yell back.
“Okay, we have to leave for the airport in half an hour.”
“I’m almost ready, Dad,” I yell back. I stuff my books that are for the school year into one of my suitcases. I open my dresser taking a last check, making sure I have all the clothes I could possibly need for the school year. I scan my room looking for anything else I need to grab. I walk over to my bedside table. On it there is a picture of me and my dad from his older brother’s wedding. I am just about five in the picture. This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my dad. I grab the picture wrapping a shirt around it so the glass of the frame doesn’t get scratched or break on the flight. I grab my two suitcases and my purse and lug them down the stairs.
“I’m ready, Dad,” I say quietly, sad that I have to say goodbye but also excited to see my mom. I haul the suitcases to the door, pushing down the handle.
“Okay.” I put on my black pea coat. I grab the smaller suitcase and my purse and my dad grabs the bigger one with all my clothes inside. I seize the front door, swing it open, and we walk through. I walk down the porch to the old Jeep.
We arrive at the airport an hour later. I open the car door and I am immediately greeted by the smell of cigarettes. Together my dad and I walk to the big doors that lead to the airport. The automatic doors open leading us into the chaotic thing that is the airport. People scurry around hurriedly trying to get to their destinations. First we go to baggage claim, then I hug Dad, wave and go through bag checking where you put your carry-ons on the conveyor belt and you get scanned. Once I get out of the walk through scanner I wave again to my dad. I grab my purse and walk to the gate. I sit down on one of the chairs and take out my phone. I text my mom, telling her that I am at the gate, ready to board. She texts back a couple minutes later about how she can’t wait to see me. I plug in my earphones and listen to some soft music as I wait to board the plane.
About half an hour later the announcer comes on the intercom saying that flight #593 going to The Detroit Metro Airport is starting to board. I grab my purse and take out my earphones, stuffing them in my purse. I stand up and take out my flight pass. The announcer lady is first telling people who are first class and people with small children to go first. Finally it’s my turn. I walk up to the announcer and she looks at my ticket. She nods and I walk to the little path that attaches to the plane. I get right to where the boardwalk meets the plane and there are a couple little gaps between them and in the gaps I can see the other planes and the ground. I step into the plane and find my seat which is B10. I have the middle seat in between a man that looks about middle aged and a woman of about 30. I relax into the seat buckling myself in and plugging in my earphones. I hear a baby crying behind me, I turn up my music, tuning out the baby.
My eyes flutter open. I look around, freaking out before I remember that I am on the plane going to Detroit, Michigan. After about a minute I have calmed down, a flight attendant comes on the intercom telling us that we will be landing soon. I stretch as much as I can without bumping the people next to me.
“Everyone buckle your seat belts, we are entering a bit of turbulence,” a woman says over the intercom.
I take a deep breath calming my nerves. The plane hits a some turbulence, I shudder. Red lights start flashing. The woman tries to come back on the intercom and all I hear is her saying stay calm, then there is just loud static. There is a hole in the plane. Air is rushing out, blowing my hair into my eyes. Voices shout all around me. We're dropping, faster and faster now. I fumble with the chair back trying to find the emergency breather. My hands crush against a plastic bag. My stomach is churning and pounding as if there is a person inside it punching and kicking. I say goodbye to my breakfast, trying not to look at it as it goes into the bag. Finally finished I set the bag down. Chaos surrounds me. The man and woman next to me are slumped against their headrests. I let out a shrill scream. Determined I shove my hands in front of me fishing for hope. And I find it. My hands touch the plastic respirator. I yank it out and clasp it to my mouth. I slump back into my chair. Focusing on one thing only, my breathing. I glance back around everyone who is still alive is like me grasping their respirator. I look back at the hole. It has gotten surprisingly bigger in the last five seconds. We speed down to the ground. I lean over the man on my left peeking out the window. I see cars racing on the highway. I spot the wing and I see that it’s on fire. I jerk away from the window, slumping back into my seat. The loud sounds have collapsed into the distance. The only thing is us in the plane and the ever closer ground. I feel my head getting cloudy. The lights flash out and it's dark. With a big crash we hit the ground. Debris flies everywhere. Flames lick at the plane, devouring it. My eyes flick open. I take the respirator out of my mouth and for the first time since the airport I breath fresh air. I pick my limp body up, I hear the familiar sound of a baby crying. I thrust myself towards the sound, and there he is sitting. I gasp as I notice that the baby is on its dead mother’s lap. I scoop up the baby and clutch him to my hip. He wails and I try to comfort him but give up after a minute. I separate the debris, trying to get weave through the mass of metal and charred seat fabric. I climb out of the plane. I look all around and in the distance I see smoke coming from a chimney. I start walking towards the house. After walking for about five minutes. I’m almost at the house. I arrive at the house and pound my fists into the door. After only a couple of knocks a woman opens the door. She looks to be about 35.
“What happened, she asks me concerned looking.
“We were in a plane crash, and I was one of the only survivors and I was looking to see if anyone else had survived. And I heard this little mister crying and I pulled him out of the wreckage.”
“Oh my god, are you okay? Is there anything I can do?”
“Could you take care of the little guy? His parents died in the crash, and the plane is only about five minutes away, and I know there must be more survivors. I have to save them.”
“I can take care of him, but you shouldn't go back to the plane. You're just going to end up getting yourself killed.”
“Thanks, but I have to go back.”
“Please don't go back.”
“I’m sorry,” I say quietly as I hand her the baby.
I run back to the plane, the lady screaming for me to come back. When I get there I see that the fire has grown even higher. I sprint into the fiery fuselage. I hear someone moaning, I grab them by their hands desperately trying to pull them out. But it’s not working. I smell burning flesh and grab them one last time trying to pull the person out of the plane. My face burns and I fall down to the ground. My lungs gasp for air but all I get is smoke. I feel my skull burning and I see the fire tearing up the last of the plane. Then my eyes close.
**Later that day**
The plane is expected to arrive in half an hour. I grab my purse and jacket and I hop into my car. I am so excited to see Marie. I bet she is excited to tell me about the summer with her dad. I always enjoy hearing about it, though I’m not sure why.
I turn on the radio. Michigan Radio blares over the speakers. It’s a rather long drive from Ann Arbor to the Detroit Metro Airport, and everytime I make this drive, I listen for accidents that could cause me to be late.
“Breaking news,” says the announcer. “We have just recently gotten a call that says that flight #593 from Orlando, Florida to Detroit fell out of the sky just about an hour ago. A baby with an unknown name is the only known survivor.”
My breath catches, and before I know what I am doing, I pull over onto the side of the highway. I unlock the door hastily, stumble out of my car, and then the tears start to flow.