Omens

9 May

I don’t believe in omens, he told himself.

Standing at the gate he watched airplane after airplane land, barely a minute separating each landing. And yet he had stood here staring for over an hour and nothing had gone wrong.

He shuddered. That only increased the chance that the next one would crash. One in a million planes crashed, right? How many had landed across the globe while he stood here? Which one would be number one million?

That’s not how statistics work, he reminded himself.

It didn’t help. The thought of a sky crowded with tons of titanium traveling through clouds at several hundred miles per hour still gave him goosebumps.

Of course, there were professionals in charge with hi-tech equipment and years of training. But they must have had a first time. The is no room for ‘oops’. And what if they had a fight with their wife the night before? Got drunk? What if his child was just run over by a Polish person and he had to give landing instructions to a LOT aircraft?

Easy, he steadied himself. They had systems for this kind of thing. Rules and regulations. He deliberately guided his thought away from how they dealt with rules and regulations where he worked.

A woman screamed. He spun to witness the commotion at the gate. Her hand was gripped to her breast and her face was pale, but a weak laughter escaped her.

“A bird,” blushing, she explained to the people’s bewildered glances. “It just flew right into the window. Smash! I can’t believe he didn’t break it!”

A few of the younger children darted to the window in youthful curiosity. Some dragging their parents with them.

“Eeew,” said one of them pointing out of the window. “I think its dead.”

“No, its still moving,” responded another.

“That happens sometimes after they die,” yet another.

“Isn’t it kind of dangerous to have birds flying around at the airport?” asked one of the parents.

“It is,” answered another one, sagely. “They can get sucked into the turbines and cause an airplane to crash.”

“Its nothing to worry about,” assured a uniformed cabin attendant. It was said with such practical ease and confidence, it must have been a phrase he needed to perfect to graduate to flight attendant. “I’ll just quickly ring up the clean up crew.”

Leaving the passengers to peer curiously at the spasming bird he walked briskly off.

He marveled at the perfect haircut and impossibly close shave of the flight attendant, calling to mind an image of a Thunderbird doll. A dead, inanimate object. He observed the steward’s jaw closely as announced that boarding had now commenced for business class passengers.

Good thing I don’t believe in omens, he thought.

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