In-Flight Programming.


Airplane ART PRINT Limited Edition by AF. Marlow

I just wanted to mourn in peace, in private, but it was difficult to do with a window seat. I could disturb my neighbor only so often, hide in the bathroom for so long.

I tried to keep myself occupied, take my mind off of things for a while. I’d gaze out beyond the aircraft for a few hours, but all I found was whipped white and blue atmosphere, sympathizing or pitying me, letting me ride on its shoulders. We were too high to see any buildings or highways, cars crawling across them like ants. Too far from land for any of that now, anyway. Surely, it was just the Pacific down below.

The seat in front of me was well-equipped with a small screen, armed with movies, TV shows, news-updates-in-the-sky. I tried to settle into some new release but it all just seemed so artificial, so scripted. I was too distracted by the real Oscar-worthy, best-picture-nominee playing on in my head- a real film noir in retrospect. Playing on in black and white, shadowy smoke eclipsing the faces of the stars, the time constraints of the cine ripping them apart, but nobody can see it, or they just ignore it.

I gazed into these scenes, twirling steadily in shallow focus, and finally, emerging from the shades of grey, a backdrop of green, gigantic hilltops and clear sky become all one blur of turquoise and white, spinning like a carousel. I’m making my way through the stampede of horses mid-gallop, some with one eye, tortoises keeping up pace, flamingos doing their one-legged tricks.

I’m trying to wave off to someone in the crowd, out in the stillness, but they just wave back, thinking I’m enjoying the ride. But how can I, with all these scenes on top of gleeful hippos, playing for no one but me. A private screening that I never asked for, never wanted to begin with.

I looked into those moving images and thought I saw myself in them, daring to smile, having the nerve. It looked like me. My voice- I thought I recognized it, but I just wasn’t convinced.

Was that really me, so carefree, leaving love on the sidewalk like rose petals, marking a trail for someone to find, if they wanted.  Really me scaling down the side of a volcano,  taunting its core to awaken and make me into ashes, me and two of the best friends I’ve ever had in this world.

I guessed that these were memories, not just moving pictures on a screen, directed by so-and-so, written by Whoever, Who cares. These images certainly felt quite a part of me, so deeply embedded I couldn’t dig them out with an ice pick or the back-end of a hammer if I tried. They were stuck in the flesh, in the brain cells, making their home in my head like a Bon Iver song. That was Wisconsin, that was yesterday. Feeling real as the present but just out of reach, too far away to touch. Gone but here and breathing, still.

I can never be rid of them, I realize that now.

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