“A Bitter Home at 20,000 Feet” – Friday Fiction, by Chris Tucker

 

     Their plane climbs to 11,000 feet and continues to rise.  High above the chaos of the traffic below, peaceful clouds gently greet them.  But their little worlds are far from quiet.   She says she doesn’t like the way he dresses anymore.  Get some style, high school has come and went.  He says she believes what the magazines say a little too much.  They fight.  Even though the people around bear witness to it all, they keep their heads down.  A stewardess comes by and politely but subtly begs them to stop.  She too is growing impatient, as they have been fighting since this relic of a bird lifted off from just another nameless, restless city.  Crying and droning, even the plane itself is sounding off it’s disapproval of another failed marriage.  But it flies on.

     “You know that special way we fuck?”  He says with utter contempt.  “It’s not a secret anymore”.  He watches waiting for the pain to set in her eyes.  She stares right back, acting as if she’s unaffected.  But inside it hurts bad, so bad she wants to jump off this God-awful plane and feel the whipping winds hit her face before it all ends.  They’ll say she was a good girl, she tried hard.

     She is thinking back to a kiss, not a first kiss, those usually are not that great…but the first good one.  The kind of passion that makes the shiver of your spine climb to dizzying heights.  A song bursts into her head like time-lapse flowers blooming.  Her earliest memories of when it all started drip with purity.  If she thinks about the good memories any longer the new realities of just another f-ed up relationship will crush her heart.  He seems so strong on the outside but he’s dying as well.  How can a love so intense have burned out so quickly?  If they had half a brain between them they would salvage a friendship, but humans don’t always act on intellect.  Selfishness and temptation rule the land.  A shared lust they hold on too.  It has already broken them and it’s not even out in the air.

     With the haste of an alcoholic ready to relapse she orders up a stiff drink to quell her emotions.  He joins her in this numbing ritual, quite possibly the only thing they are in mutual agreement on.  She looks down at her message for the millionth time and then flashes a gaze of disgust that would have burned a hole straight through that thick glass.  He is oblivious as he downs his drink without hesitation.  He notices her holding her phone.  “Your own personal God”.  He talks down to her as he glances at her phone.  “That’s what your parents raised you for, their little baby all grown up, using her body to get people to like her.  Mommy and Daddy would be proud”.  He spews fire.

      “Who the hell do you think you are?”  She launches back without thinking.  “All high and mighty…with the mind of a 12 year old boy; I wiped away your tears so many times I lost count.  If only your friends new how much of a little bitch you were”.  The plane continues to climb higher and higher, almost in unison with their quarrel of words.  “Then we’d see the alpha-male crumble, with his tale between his legs”.

      He fidgets in his seat.  No place for comfort at 20,000 feet.  Heads still down, the blank faces across the plane pay little attention to a fight that has gone from shouting to harsh whispering and dirty stares.  This is place of relationships that were built like castles which came tumbling down to smoking ruins.  This is a place of lost desire.  A place of longing and love.  A bitter home at 20,000 feet…where men and women scream for answers like broken children.

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