I stare at the ice. My cheeks are burning, my hands are trembling. She looks at me staring at it. I look away quickly but look back at the ice when I see her head turn. She knows I need it. I see it melting in the cups she is setting out. Water. I need water.
Beside me is the wing, and a propeller is thrumming so loud it's making my head ache. I can imagine it spinning so fast the separate prongs are a blur, but I cannot see them move. There are windows in front of and behind my seat, but just far enough away to where I cannot easily see out of them. Just the red of the wing at a glance. A glimpse of white, and the red.
She steps towards me... but stops at the row in front of me. Water? She taps another woman's knee. Would you like some water? Oh! No. Was her response. What? I think. But it's free. She's giving it to you for free. I'm next. But then she turns away. Heads back towards the front. Noooo... she will offer me some?
Beside me the engine keeps thrumming and humming and drumming into my ears, into my head. The whole cabin shutters and squeaks and groans. A bolt is spinning loudly somewhere behind me. Maybe turning looser and looser until it falls off completely. This entire tin can is a *******. I am stuck inside the biggest *** toy ever created. We are vibrating up in the clouds, but who are we bringing pleasure? We are just the ones unlucky enough to get stuck inside.
Finally she turns to me. She is holding a tray full of tiny water bottles and small cups of ice. Water? She asks. Ice? Umm... both? I test her. She barely nods and hands me a plastic cup and a bottle. As I take them from her the coolness from the ice cup caresses my hand. Ice. Slowly I pour half of the tiny bottle into the tiny cup, watching the liquid. I take a sip and savor the taste. Water.
After a few sips, I dip my finger into the cup. Just the very tip. I take the droplet and smear it across my cheek. Then the other cheek. Cool, and refreshing on my flushed and burning face. Then it's gone. She comes back later and asks. More water? More ice? Yes. Both. This time I am not as careful; I pour as much of the bottle into the cup as I can. I'm holding the lid with one hand and the bottle with the other. The small plastic cup is clenched between my thighs. I try to set the bottle down after ******* the lid on but it falls the the floor. I lean across to pick it up and feel the cold. My water is spilling into my crotch, soaking my pants. My ****** feels cold and it's nice. Very nice. It is sad that all the water will be evaporated by the time we land.
After so much water I need to ***. I look around then stand slowly. Two steps forward. She steps aside. I grasp the door handle and step in, closing it after me. My hip touches the door and the other side. My elbows hit the walls. I turn around and ***. No sink to wash my hands. The room is stuffy, worse than the cabin. The smell of my own ***** is so strong I stifle a cough. When I flush, blue liquid seeps down from the top to the hole that opened for my waste. That's normal. But it keeps going. And going. Stop! I think. There's been enough water already wasted. As soon as I start to manually stop it, it shuts off. Good. I grab a sanitized napkin, rub it between my hands then go back to my seat.
The funny thing about this all, is that I am sitting in 3A. That is in the second row. This... this is first class.
Ironic. This is. Flying up so high and free... but still needing water. No matter where you go you need it. But even more ironic, is that when I crane my head back to look out the widow, I catch a glimpse of the ocean beneath us. So much water that we can't drink.
This is an experimental prose piece I wrote about a flight I recently took. (I was flying United btw.) The things that happened in the story are true, if a bit dramatized. Let me know what you think about it! I would love to hear your thoughts on this experimental piece :)