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16 Feb 2012

Chapter 8: Prepare for Arrival

I thought it looked like she was drawing, earlier. I was not sure, peripheral vision and all that. I can see more clearly now and I see a few block diagrams on the page she is currently writing on. With that, I will settle for studying not creative writing.

A funny thing occurred to me just now. The way I am taking pictures on my mobile every now and then, making notes on a sheet of paper, it might appear as if I am doing a recce of the place. I could be up to something illegal, marking out my route, for a later date when I will need to execute my plan. Luckily for me, I am on an aeroplane, flying miles above the earth. In the air, taking pictures and making notes are allowed. Any idea that I may be charting out the route by doing that is too far-fetched to be realistic. There is not much sense I can make, of the route, with the moving clouds and a beautiful sunset, can I?

I have hit the end of this page and I still have to conclude my writing. I am not done yet. What am I going to do? I really should stop writing and pick up the book I have brought with me, to read. It is called A Walk To Remember, by Nicholas Sparks. I have never read anything by this author before but the book has good reviews at the back. It promises to touch my heart too. 

Let me dig in my handbag and see if I have any scraps of paper I can use, to finish off my ramble-on-paper. 

I've found an email that I had printed off earlier in the day. It is the list of things a girlfriend has asked me to do, while I am in Melbourne. This will have to do.

The clouds outside are all grey now, and below us. The horizon is orange, yellow and a shade of blue or green. There are patches of the dark sky blue colour I saw earlier. 

I am on a ship, cruising along the waters, looking out the window of my cabin on the top floor.

I cannot seem to come up with an appropriate ending. Actually, I need to pee. I have been holding myself for a while now. As I said earlier, I could not find the toilets at the airport, then I could not go because the plane was stationery and then the chick came in and started writing right away and then I waited for her to take a break, which she did not... and there is all that coke I have been drinking. That reminds me. My teachers insisted that I should not use too many 'AND's in a single sentence. They said that made the sentence too long and the reader could lose track of all the things that happened from start to end. My sentences tended to be long, even back then, joined by a whole lot of 'AND's. I may have kicked the habit but it crept in there for a little second, didn't it?

Anyway, I had better go soon. They will turn on the seatbelt signs any minute now and then I will have to wait till we land. I don't know that I can hold for that much longer. There will be a queue of people to get out and sometimes people can be so slow. No. I have to go now. 

My hands are hurting like hell. It is not just my fingers any more. My arms and elbows are hurting too. It has been really long since I last wrote. I have been writing for at least 2 hours. 

Okay. I have just been to the toilet and back. The girl, Elle, is quite pleasant. She was nice about having to get up to let me get out. She had her book, sheets, ipod and a few other things on her lap but she did not seem to mind. Her voice sounds very cheerful. She said something to me when I mumbled an apology about making her get up. She also has common sense. She did not buckle up or pull the tray down till I returned. I think I really like this girl. 

The trip to the toilet was an episode, on its own. A woman entered the loo, just before I reached it. She did not come out for a really long time. I was standing at the front of the plane, where every single person on the plane could possibly see me. After a couple of minutes, I started feeling self-conscious. I could not go back, so I just hid behind the metal wall that separates that part of the plane from the rest of the passenger area. The elderly couple in the front seat could still see me. I saw them looking at me once. Our eyes met and we both did not know whether to smile or not. We settled with a half-smile. That made me even more uncomfortable. 

After 5 long minutes, or more (it definitely felt more), my mind started filling with questions. "Did she die in there?" I thought to myself, willing her to come out. What if she had fainted in the toilet? How long should I wait before I raised an alarm? Do any one of the crew members know there is someone in there?

I heard a little girl's voice from inside the loo. Phew! She had a child with her. It made sense that she was taking her time, if she had a child in there. I had not noticed the child when she entered the loo but then, I was behind her on the narrow corridor between the seats. Another few minutes passed by and I began to wonder if she killed the child. Is that why she had taken the kid into the toilet? I could not hear any sounds inside and there were no signs of anyone getting out of the toilet. I nearly looked down to see if there was blood, flowing out from underneath the door. I kicked myself. I watch too many cop shows! Between the desperate need to pee and the various CSI shows I have been watching lately, my mind had lost the capacity to think straight. 

I turned to look at the things around me. There was not much. A little fridge, trash, something behind the curtains and the exit doors on either side of the plane. I peered to read the signs and markings on the doors. There were quite a few symbols marked on each door, indicating the mechanism to release the doors, in the event of an emergency. Mostly, I could not make out much other than turning a lever here and pushing a panel there. I was concentrating so hard I had the urge to try it out, to see if it worked. 

A fleeting thought passed my mind that moment, "What if I opened one of these doors and let a blast of air in, for a brief second?"

As soon as I thought that, I turned back to the toilet door. I really had to pee. I was going crazy here. What was I thinking? I would kill hundreds of people right there, as the aircraft veered out of control and crashed, thanks to one little whim of mine to open an emergency door while we were hundreds of kilometres up in the air. Bizarre things come to mind when the mind is unable to function properly, due to the strong need to expel bodily fluids. That is my defence. Thanks to all those episodes of Air Crash Investigations, at least I know what would happen. That means, I do not have the urge to actually open the door to find out. Hurray!

Does it seem like I watch too much television? 

To cut a long story short, the woman and her child came out of the bathroom, before I did anything that would everyone on the plane. I rushed in and locked myself inside. When the deed was done and I stepped out, someone was waiting at the door. The embarrassment never ends! Why did someone have to be waiting outside? Did I take a long time too?

I am back at my seat now. Elle is back to her writing. I should have been reading but I had to tell the story that I just finished, so here I am, scribbling away some more. I might as well fill up the remaining half of this page before I wind up. 

Elle just spoke to me! She is asking me if I want the lights turned on. I smiled and said no. She said it was nice to see someone other than her writing by hand, she does not see that often. We both agreed that handwriting was a great thing. I really like her. 

That short conversation answers a few questions. She has noticed that I am writing. She did not ask what I was writing about. Either she does not care or she has peeked at my sheets while I was away. No, that can't be. I am sure she is just being polite. It is not as if I asked her what she was writing, even though the question has been eating away at me since I first noticed her writing. 

While I was getting out of the seat, I saw the title of the book she has been referring to. It says something about Melbourne Design and has pictures of what could be the Melbourne CBD. I can't say whether she is from Melbourne or Brisbane or even from other part of the world. She does not have much luggage but I have learned that people check in their bags even on short trips. Maybe her trip is not short. I'll never know.

It is plain grey outside, like a road underneath us. The horizon is orange and gold. I am on a big truck, cruising along the road. Maybe it is a Volvo bus, cool and smooth.

The captain has just asked the cabin crew to "prepare for arrival". I can feel the aircraft lower altitude. My heart is racing. Did I mention how much I love take-off and landing? I am definitely going to stop writing now. I have reached the end of the paper, my arms are hurting, I need to put the tray back on and the flight has nearly ended. All good reasons to stop. 

It has been lovely to write. I enjoyed my flight, thank you very much.

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