• Beep. “Ladies and gentleman, please buckle your seat belts and remain seated. We have encountered some rough weather. Hopefully the ride will only be bumpy for a few minutes. Afterwards, we foresee smooth sailing to your destination. Thank you for your cooperation.” Beep.

    From high above, the clouds that were just previously bright and puffy turned eerie and dark. It was only one in the afternoon, but it seemed at least ten hours later. There was a flash of light and then a KKKRSHHHHHZZZZ of thunder.

    “Excuse me, sir,” a woman whispered, tapping my right shoulder. She pointed to the tiny window in the plane. “Would you mind closing the cover?” She looked to her daughter who was sitting next to her. The little girl couldn’t be older than five. She clutched a blanket in her hands, shivering against her mother’s arm.

    I nodded to her and blocked the view of the window. Another crash of thunder sounded. The woman squeezed her child closer. “It’s going to be alright sweetie. The woman on the intercom said that it would only last a few minutes,” the mother told her child then to me she said, “This is Alice’s first time flying. Of course there has to have rough weather. Really, this is my first time flying in a while. I’m taking her to see her grandparents.” Turning back to the girl, she asked, “Isn’t that right, pumpkin? Aren’t you excited to see my mommy and daddy?” The girl whimpered in reply.

    “I’m Katherine, by the way.” Katherine put out her free hand, moving it at an odd angle so that it was hovering just in front of my right shoulder.

    I reached to shake it. “Duke,” I replied.

    Katherine retrieved her hand. “Do you fly much, Duke?”

    “I’ve been traveling a lot lately, yes.” I glanced to Alice, “I’ve seen worse weather than this. I’m sure we’ll fly right through it,” I reassured her and her mother.

    “Well, you hear that, sweetie?” Katherine patted her daughter’s head. “We’ll be just fine!”

    The seat belt sign dimmed. Beep. “We are now clear of all harsh weather. You may unfasten your seatbelts. We will be serving drinks and snacks in just a few minutes. Thank you for your cooperation.” Beep.

    Katherine whispered something comforting to Alice.

    A cup of lemon water and three packages of 100 calorie cookies later, another beep came from the board above us. “Please fasten your seatbelts. We will be walking down the aisle to collect any trash. Please have your trash ready to throw out. Do not leave your seats at this time.” Beep.

    “Mommy, are we here?”

    “Yes, honey! We’re in London,” Katherine replied.