I’m not afraid of flying. I’m afraid of leaving a mess.

Ever since I invented a mantra for myself to say during take-off, I’ve been fine with flying. I start reciting the phrases as the plane roars down the runway and only stop when we are completely in the air. What happens later isn’t covered by the take-off mantra and that worries me a little. Turbulence and landing are crap shoots.

So while I’m not really worried about flying, I still spend the night before any trip in a state of deep worry. I worry that if something terrible happens to me, no one will remember where I hide my good jewelry. I worry that my password cheat sheet isn’t current. I worry that the attic is a nightmare. I worry that my old lover’s letters are still up there. I think. I’m not sure. I worry that my children will stand in my office and start screaming.

A few mornings ago, my husband told me about a dream he’d had the night before. He said we were together on a plane that was slowly descending toward a body of water. When the plane came to rest on the water, he opened the door and swam around to the plane’s nose, knocking on the windows to the get the pilots’ attention. He saw our older daughter, the pilot, slumped over the wheel unconscious, and her younger brother, the co-pilot as it were, trying to revive her. I took the dream as catastrophic. He said it wasn’t because we floated and the pilot, our daughter, finally woke up. Did that mean that she was able to take off, speeding across the water? Would I have had to say my mantra? He didn’t have answers.

I’d like to get my life so in order that it could be contained in a small suitcase I could leave on the front porch every time I go fly somewhere. I owe that to the clean-up crew, aka my children.They shouldn’t have to untangle the 10,000 knotted necklaces that are my life. If I had things tidied up and packed in a rolling bag, I could be free of worry. Carefree, even. Imagine that.





Photo: Arnold Lee