Quondam

February 2013
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Aileron

Fiction

Entry One (in which I am beleaguered)

Entry Two (in which I am clothed)

Entry Three (in which I am indicted)

Entry Four (in which I draw a curtain)

Entry Five (in which my fingerprints appear)

Dear Mother –

A message of gravity . . .

Once, I stared out the window of an airplane as it ascended through fog and mist and clouds into the child-crayoned blue brightness that lay atop. As the airplane broke free of the thickness and leveled off, I stared out the window at the sky’s expanse and the slice cut from it by the silvered arc of the plane’s right wing. I rested my cheek against the small cool oval of the window’s glass, and I watched as the wing-cut view remained exactly the same across the miles.

I may have dozed off for a moment, or I may have simply blinked my eyes, but when I next looked out the window, the view had changed.

The sky was still blue.

The earth below was still shrouded.

The wing still cut a silvered arc.

But on the rear of the wing, on one of the moveable flaps, two perfect handprints had appeared. Not full handprints . . . four fingers to each hand, as though each thumb had been positioned beneath the wing to assist in maintaining grip. Something outside the plane had changed during my unseeing, revealing the traces of oils or dirt left behind by some now absent someone.

At first, I was merely curious about the once-invisible handprints’ coalescence, because I knew with a certainty that they had not been apparent when the plane had broken through the clouds. Rationally, I was aware that there was no big mystery – the prints had surely been left by a maintenance worker performing routine inspections pre-flight.  The magic was attributable, in all likelihood, to the impact of an atmospheric change in humidity and temperature against oily residue.  But as we continued to fly and I continued to stare, I could not shake the sense that there was something to the ghostly handholds other than routine. I stared until the fingerprints took shape and timbre as well . . . until it seemed to me I could see the fog-silhouetted outline of the man who had clung to the plane . . . until it seemed to me that I could taste his panic as final seconds of hope faded to absolute terror . . . until it seemed to me that what I had thought was a shriek of wind amidst the clouds had been in truth the scream of falling away.

I stared out the window and I could not breathe.

I could not shake the vision of the falling that would be required.

Of the letting go.

Mother, this journal was his idea, your idea, but now it’s mine. Everything hurts at the thought of letting go. Everything hurts.

The words within are me.

I feel as though I am holding onto the silvered edge of time as it slices through the air.

My hands ache with the holding.

Tomorrow will arrive, as tomorrows do.

And with it, I fear, the fall.

Dr. Richard Aileron . . . Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Look up the meaning of his name, Mother.

Look it up.

Aileron . . .

Mother, don’t you see?

Please see.

Me

    19 comments to Aileron

    • The last of this series, although I know what happens next.

      Me

    • Sigh.

      Please see.

      I don’t know how many times I’ve thought those exact words for so many different situations.

      . . .

    • I vote for an angel. I so do.

    • Robin K

      I looked it up.

      Without it a certain spiraling occurs and from so high a possible unending or a wicked ride. With it a contrived “balance”.

      Grateful for the girl’s release in the sobbing during the last installment. But maybe it was mostly sadness.

      I don’t love planes.

      I do love these stories so much.

      • Robin -

        See, I just love that you looked it up.

        It’s important, that word.

        I was going to define it in the body of the story, and then I thought for a minute of defining it in the tags.

        In the end, I settled for making the word’s importance very clear, leaving it to the reader to decide whether the knowledge was worth the effort.

        I’m so glad you went to look.

        Kris

    • Robin K

      It was so worth it. I love this place. It’s real. It’s beautifully real as only You could make it.

    • Mishelle

      I had to look it up as I didn’t have a clue what it meant.

      I will say I sat and stared at the screen kinda freaked out as I read about the handprints. If I see these in the middle of the night – you will be the first to know.

      I had to keep a journal for marriage therapy once, when I was supposed to pass it in I didn’t want to, felt like I was making it all too real. An awful feeling.

      M

      • Yes, that . . . the capture by writing makes everything all too real.

        It’s odd sometimes, to go back and look at what you have written, to see how much of yourself you allowed to leak onto the page.

        Yes, that.

        Exactly that.

        • Mishelle

          I let out too much. She never did see all of my journals, not that I didn’t want it all to be true but more that I didn’t want her to see all of me. Now, I think my head knew not to trust her before I did… she was untrustworthy. Which is crap for a therapist.

          M

          • That’s why the psychiatrist in this story is named Aileron.

            The small moveable part of the wing that controls thrust and drag and which allows the plane to maneuver and fly safely.

            The same part of the wing on which the handprints appeared, evidence of a doomed attempt to save oneself.

            And so . . .

            to trust or not to trust . . .

            the neverending question.

            That.

            Me

    • Jacqui

      Please just tell me “and she lived happily ever after”? I need ‘Aileron’ in my life today and your story had left me feeling so desperate for both her and me.

    • Lexie

      Your fiction is like dark chocolate. Sometimes bitter but mostly just so damn good.