In the Event of a Water Landing | Becky Robison
The pills had been in the left pocket of her linen pants—the ones she always wore traveling— but they weren’t there now. She imagined the orange bottle bobbing up in the foamy crest of a wave, floating within arm’s reach, miraculously. No—the bottle was probably settling into the silty ocean floor, disturbing the habitat of spindly creatures with too many legs. Suicide’s out—drowning or freezing it is. With empty pockets, her pants were nothing but extra weight. She slipped the elastic band past her hips and kicked them off.
A boat. It would be infinitely more practical to wish for a passing boat than for her pills. She blamed her poor logic on the shivering. She had been shivering on the plane, too—recycled air is so damn cold—but nothing could have prepared her for the water’s shock when it shattered the windows. The only sails on the horizon were jagged triangles of wreckage. None of the metal slabs were nearby, but perhaps the current would favor her. She forced her head to the left, bit the red spout, and puffed a few shaky breaths into her yellow lifejacket.
She’d never believed flight attendants when they pantomimed safety procedures in the aisles; she’d figured there was nothing under their seats, no masks packaged in the compartments above—or if there were, they surely didn’t work. Better to have dead passengers than broken passengers with lawyers. But when the pilot gave up the charade of turbulence, she had reached below and found a plastic-wrapped vest, just as they had promised. Her girlfriend often accused her of being too cynical. She wished she could say, you were right. She imagined her phone bobbing up in the foamy crest of a wave, waterproof and with service, miraculously.
Originally from Chicago, Becky Robison is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her work has also appeared in Paper Darts and PINBALL.