Dragging my portable closet on wheels I follow a line of tense travelers whining over boarding delays and tight overhead bins until reaching my slender vinyl spot designed to double as a floatation device. There, I’m joined by a well-dressed woman in her fifties, who leans her blonde head into my lap to squeeze a stuffed satchel under her seat.
“Sorry,” she says. “But I don’t check baggage. Not since they lost my jewelry.”
I nod sympathetically, needing no antecedent for “they,” meaning the airlines, of course, the arrogant ogre who makes crossing the sky bridge an irritating inconvenience.
We continue to banter and bitch as giant wheels roll beneath us and engines roar down the runway.
“Shoes off for security,” I pout.
“Bottle size limits,” she sneers.
“Do the seats feel slimy to you?”
“Choose the aisle next time,” she advises. “Quicker exit on landing.”
Our grievances temporarily exhausted, I turn to the window where clouds gleam beneath a giant silver arm, serene as an eagle’s outstretched wing. Then I lean back in my vinyl seat to soar across thousands of miles my flightless body could never maneuver without this miraculous machine, so easily maligned.
Jacqueline Jules is a teacher, librarian, poet, and children’s author. Her books for young readers include Zapato Power, Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation, and Miriam in the Desert. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Nebo, The Broome Review, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Christian Science Monitor, Inkwell, Chaminade Literary Review, Sunstone, Imitation Fruit, Potomac Review, and Minimus.