Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Coming to Terms

There is an eerie calm around us these last couple of days, trying to deal with our everyday normal stuff while under the shock that one of Hubster's friends was aboard Air France Flight 447.

It seems impossible to me that she, a young woman of 29, could disappear like that. I can feel the panic attacks of "why" creeping up behind me, making it difficult to focus on anything. And I hardly knew her. I'm more worried about my Hubster. This was his friend, someone he knew well. Hubster is guarded with his emotions at times and I wish I knew what to say or do to make this situation all better. I feel the need to touch him, on his arm, his shoulder. A small contact when my words fail me.

The accident has me thinking about all the times I've travelled by plane. Jetting around the US for my former job, flying transatlantic with the kids, and the occasional little journey around Europe. There's a routine feeling to most of these trips. The waiting at the check in counter. The waiting in the departure lounge. Getting on board, finding your seat, and then hoping the person next to you either doesn't snore or won't mind having juice spilled on them by a toddler.

We sit on these planes and read our books, watch the movies, and just try and make the best of being stuck on a sardine can for hours. At times, it's been the best thing to have a solid 7 hour stretch of time in front me and then there are other times when the journey can't be over fast enough. I've been lucky though, because on most of my flights, I've had the chance to encounter such an amazing world of people.

-The handsome man next to me during my first and only trip in first class. This stranger who calmed me down during a landing in a storm, as he talked about music and The King Biscuit Flour Hour.

-The woman who sat next to me when I flew to England all by myself to start to rest of my life. I can still hear her laugh, twinkling with that British accent I found so charming and wonderful.

-I remember the kindness of the flight attendants when I flew to the States with Mini-Husband and The Princess. They helped me deal with those two toddlers and told me not to worry about it when one of them had a bit of an accident while sleeping.

-The man from Alaska who slept as much as I did on a flight to Salt Lake City.

-The nice guy travelling to Russia, the groups of high school kids heading to Washington or Paris or Seattle, the countless little kids who loved playing "kick-the-seat" and "peak-a-boo" behind me.

It's dawned on me that most of the time in our lives, the journeys are forgettable but the people on them are not.

I'd like to think that Hubster's friend had someone good next to her on that last flight. Unfortunately, that someone good will be missed as much as she will be. My thoughts are with them. Both of them. All of them. And those who are left behind.


Diane said...

Thta is so hard, I hope the friend never knew what was going on and it was over before it even began.

How you can remember all those people from so many flights just blows my mind!!

Who was the friend? A Michelin person?

Sue said...

Prayers for a man, a company and a nation...

Kelly said...

Great post, Karen. In all my years of business travel, there have been a handful of people who I've talked to. Turns out, they were all teachers, and each one encouraged me to do what I'm doing today. You're right about the people.

Keeping you and Dave in my thoughts.