Hildie S. Block
It was the moment everything changed for Sasha.
Not the moment she’d been brought to the US to be adopted as a baby from Russia.
Not the moment she’d first seen a plane in the sky, or the Blue Angels at the air show.
Not the moment she’d gotten that first Dawn doll that had worn the trim flight attendant dress.
Not when planes had fallen out of the sky, or people had lept from the World Trade Towers.
She’d been raised like most good New Yorkers , with her head down, moving forward. But her imagination? It was caught, held prisoner by the idea of flight, by the sky, by the clouds. She lived to be up there, from the time she touched down until the next take off. She dreamed it, a recurring dream, flying, soaring.
Besides, this was Washington, DC.
So no one could see it coming.
Sasha certainly couldn’t see it coming.
The sun glinted wildly off the store front windows in Georgetown. The buses spewed grey puffs. The cars beeped and slogged along.
She waved at a cab on the other side of the street – it flashed its lights, and pulled over.
She had only to cross to it.
Drop the box at the FedEx on the corner, jump into the cab and rush to National.
She had a plane to catch. Running late, as always, pulling her airline issue “pilot’s” bag, readjusting her airline issue attendant uniform. She felt a nervousness in her belly, like something good and true was about to happen.
Sasha, readjusted her bag on her shoulder. Inside, an overnight package. Not for her to ask. Only for her to deliver since she was the one who had made him miss the pick up, to spend 10 more minutes in bed. It had to go. Air Mail.
Her heel caught in the brick sidewalk. A dreadlocked guy in a skinny blue suit pushed by her. Her knee twisted, and then the shoe was free.
“Hey!” she called, but the dreadlocked guy didn’t stop. Didn’t even turn.
What did she expect?
“He was an asshole.” Sasha turned to see where that voice came from. Another suit stood behind her, grabbed her elbow to steer her. She wanted to shake it away, but didn’t want to make a scene. The corner at the light was crowded.
Her stomach twisted as she gazed down into the crosswalk.
“What the hell are you doing?” she hissed.
“Whoa – someone got up the wrong side of the . . . what’s that?” She looked down in her bag and saw the Overnight box half out.
“Nothing. Something for a friend.”
“That’s a lot of customs seals.”
“I just have to drop it into at FedEx. He does international . . .do you smell something?” Sasha had her elbow free and turned to look for the man in the suit, but he was gone. She took a deep breath but couldn’t catch another whiff of the gas she’d smelled the moment before.
The cab, paused on the opposite corner, flashed lights and beeped its horn.
She felt for the package but it was still there. She shook her head, the light changed, the WALK sign came on and she finally stepped off the curb.
The light still glinted off the windows. The cars were barely crawling. The buses air brakes squealed as Sasha crossed the street.
She was the only one standing on the metal plate as it flew straight up.
Sending her sky high.
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