She had packed, re-packed and packed again. The day was finally here. At the last minute she grabbed a rayon dress and rolled it and slid it in the side of her one piece of luggage. Just in case.
The big day. The wedding that she and her best friend had secretly been scheming, planning and praying for – forever. Her heart literally soared.
Her flight left at 11:22 am; what to do for the next three hours was anyone’s guess. She was so excited to get to New England. So much time to wait. She cleaned the house, the fridge including the science experiment living in the veggie bin, and watered plants and flowers. God help her, would the time go by!
Finally, Uber sent a ding to her cell alerting her it/they were on the way. She bounced into the Nissan Altima and was greeted by driver Margie, a retired postal worker who had crackers and water and plenty of chit chat to get her to the airport. And plenty of time. Until there wasn’t.
They hit a snare on Airport Blvd, with a train. The longest fragging train in the history of trains. Margie waited while other drivers backed up, flipped around and basically said screw it, and the train just kept coming. She kept checking her phone; the time was ticking, and the flight was leaving on time with or without her. Dammit.
By the grace of God the train finally passed and the little old lady floored it. She deposited her at curbside, and all was back to plan. Kinda. She raced through the small airport with the speed of a much younger woman; through security and into the Southwest Airlines boarding area looking like a wild ban chi. She was NOT missing this flight. And she didn’t. Clumsily guiding her roll-around onto the plane and stopping at her seat, 11C, a window, she hefted her big ass bag into the overhead and squeezed into her seat. She buckled up, the plane was packed. She said a prayer for safety and one for forgiveness. She had probably cussed a few people out there on the road.
She leaned her head back and closed her eyes as the plane made its ascent. Running checklists through her mind, as any Maid of Honor would do. Everything was done and this would be the wedding of weddings. Perfect.
Arriving at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, she looked for a driver. The guy with a sign calling just for her. Nothing. Well, shit. She was a little late but nothing serious. Her best friend didn’t set it up. Had to be it. Ok, plan B. She raced once more out the doors and into the cabstand area. Flagged one down and she was off.
The wedding was at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. She was surprised to see just how many cars were in the lot. Small affair? How would she change into her dress? Surely it would be left for her in the vestibule. The details had been ironed out months ago. She slid into the church literally. Her shoes and soaks were soaking wet. No time to think, she opened the doors to the rectory; the service was already under way, without her. She grabbed the first isle seat she came to. Bride and groom were in place at the alter; the bridesmaid to the left, alone, the place she should occupy beside her vacant. That’s for me she thought. She fought the urge to just hop up there. She was stopped short by the words of the presiding priest: “May we bow our heads in prayer for the victims of flight 222……
Flight 222? That was her flight. What is wrong with this guy? Let’s get on with the service. A High Mass is long enough already. She felt heavy. She realized she was sweating; no, not sweating. Wet. Her hair, her awful hair. She called out to the bride as the service continued, people in tears. She yelled and the bride turned; saw her, stretched out an arm to her with eyes wide and tearful, a false eyelash drooping awkwardly. She wanted to fix it but couldn’t. She was above it now and understood.
“…For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever……”
Flight 222 traveled over the Atlantic off the coast of Cape Hatteras into a storm that sent a lightning bolt to the left side wing. It spun left and continued a downward spiral into the abyss. There were no survivors.