Monday, 16 March 2009

Night Flight

I am cemented in my window seat next to Jacob who attempts to sleep. I can make minor adjustments to ease the stiffness of my cramped, imprisoned body by moving centimetres at a time, and since the seat in front of me is now inclined, even to flex and stretch out my legs is a challenge. My lungs and nose feel scorched by the aircraft's mechanical lung which hums and pumps.

From time to time I consider the miracle of being transported in this pressurised metal tube that traverses land and sea with hundreds of hot sleeping forms lying in uncomfortable contortion. My legs feel like sausages on the barbeque ready to spit and burst and my head aches with a dull throb as we glide between heaven and earth.

All is dark as the cabin lights are off and all port shades drawn to keep out the brightness of the day. Those who can sleep defy the time zones and claim their night whilst others like me wrestle with our wakefulness and try to obtain the oblivion of sleep that will blot out the strangeness of this suspension. The elegant silk suited crew are watchful like exotic birds hovering over a ploughed field. They walk up and down the aisles with trays carrying jugs of water and tiny plastic cups looking to rehydrated those who catch their eye.

Imsomniacs slide into a perfectly private world through the distraction of ipods, books, or laptop films. Others cannot escape so they watch every movement of the crew and register the faces of passengers who lurch to the back of the plane to queue for toilets.

A flight is never an end in itself. Who could endure this imprisonment without some grand reward waiting to repair the wounds to body and mind made by changing continent and time zone?

As the hours pass the deck grows ever darker as remaining solitary lights are extinguished and like the strike of a night stalker's cosh I succumb to fitful sleep.


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