The good that came from a Plane Crash

December 23, 2008
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Dear Mrs. Warthall,

I am pleased to inform you that everything is ready. Your tickets are purchased, they will be in the mail shortly, and your hotel rooms are booked. Your plane will take off at exactly two o’clock in the afternoon and arrive in New York at seven. From there you will board the oceanic flight 215 to Rome. You will land in Rome at about eleven thirty in the morning, their time. That is when your journey will begin. You will have exactly two months to tour Europe, all expenses paid. If you remember correctly, the one catch was that you have no electronic communication with the U.S. you may write postcards and send letters, you may also acquire a European cell phone. This is because there will be a reality tv crew following you everywhere you go. You must remember your task: find the best restaurants and shops in all the cities that you visit and have the best time.

All the best,

The food network channel

As Annie Warthall read this letter she started getting more and more excited, she was thinking of everything she could do. She wanted to visit Paris and see it from the prospect of a local, she wanted to see the roman forum as it was back in 200 bc. She wanted to go back to the place where Joan of Arc was granted an army of three hundred men. The only problem was that she was supposed to go to all the culinary places in the world, not the historical ones that she loved.
Annie loved cooking, but even more then that, she loved history. She had been battling it out for years with her parents. Her parents were great people, but they made it clear that she had to make a choice: Either become a chef and be in her parents good graces, or become a historian and do what she loved. She had made her choice, it was only now that she was beginning to regret it. Annie was a smart girl, she could do anything she wanted to, and she chose cooking. Her parents’ love was more important then what she had always dreamed of. Annie was one of six kids, so she grew up competing for her parents’ affection, and now, all her dreams were being thrown away in the attempt.
On the day of June third Annie was at the airport at eleven thirty. She had packed the day before, filling up five suitcases. If she was going to be filmed everyday, she would need to look good. She also brought all her hair necessities, her hair dryer, straitener, and curler were all packed into a sixth case that also contained all her toiletries. Two days before, Annie had gone on a shopping spree in Target, there she got her travel toothbrush, shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant. She also got all her snacks for the plane there. Annie loved target.

As she went through customs, Annie was thinking of everything she needed to accomplish. The new TV special, of which she was the host, was called Take a bite. Not a very good name as far as Annie was concerned. She would have liked something more along the lines of European delicacies with Annie Warthall, but, no such luck. Oh well, it could always be changed, she decided. That was number one on her To Do list. Number two was to get in the plane and start getting ready for all the excitement that Europe would bring: A new adventure and new people to share it with. Yes, she thought, it will be great. To have an adventure was all Annie asked of life, and now, she was on one.
As the plane flew through the sky, Annie was looking out the window, watching the world get smaller and smaller, farther and farther away. She knew she shouldn’t like this, but for some reason, she felt relieved. Seventeen hours of time, time for Annie to do whatever she wanted to, Time for her to prepare for the camera crew that was to be a permanent fixture in her life for the next two months.
Everything felt surreal. Her quick two years at culinary school and then how she got the dream job on her first interview. It all went so fast that she had a hard time keeping track of her crowded, fast track life. At first, all she did was cook the food that they were going to use on the shows, but soon, she got a job offer that was too good to pass up. That is how Annie Warthall ended up on a plane, on her way to Rome.
Soon they were over the ocean. Annie felt small and inconsequential in such a big world where many things existed. She was too high up to see any dolphins or sea creatures, but that left Annie to her imagination. She pictured a world where everything was wonderful. The whales and dolphins, friends, the fish all swimming in harmony. In her imagination, Annie was safe. She saw things as she would have them, instead of as they were.
The world was a big scary place, and to Annie Warthall, it seemed about the worst place you could end up. Wars, terrorists, and sickness, what more could you ask for??? Annie often tried to push this point of view to the back of her mind. She would focus on the good things and enjoy life. She would be happy, even if her life left much to be desired.
Annie woke up feeling disoriented and wondered for a second where she was. She had slept in all the time that she had designated for reading up on all the restaurants and trying to learn a few phrases. Now, it was crunch time. She would have to work hard to memorize the phrases, look up the restaurants and start learning some recipes. Annie had a lot to do in the eight hours left on the plane.
Eight hours. It seemed like such a small chunk of time but also like forever. Annie didn’t want to be stuck on this plane for another eight hours. She needed to stretch her legs, eat real food and pee in a bathroom that wasn’t smaller then the average cupboard.
The last eight hours seemed to be the worst. Annie sat there in her seat and opened her phrase book. Molto Bene. Very good. Dove è. Where is. È l'alimento buono? Is the food good? But soon, the words started to blur and her eyes seemed to focus on something very far away even though the only thing in front of Annie’s face was the book. She liked how the words turned to squiggles and she found that if she moved her head a certain way, she could see pictures in the mayhem of messy lines.
‘I’m going crazy’ Annie thought to herself. But in truth, she had a feeling that going crazy would be much more fun then this. Sitting on a plane with an Italian phrase book in front of her was defiantly not Annie’s idea of fun. Sitting with a strawberry daiquiri by the pool, now that was fun. But both pools and strawberry daiquiris are very far away.
As Annie sits there, pondering the thought of distance, a voice comes on over the intercom. “Attention all passengers. Your In Flight Entertainment is about to begin. Today the feature is Under The Tuscan Sun. Also, a flight attendant will be coming around with a drink cart.”
‘Good’ Annie thought ‘I defiantly need a drink!’ She sat up, pushing the button on the side of her seat to raise it up. She pushed the leg rest down and pulled her armrests back into place. After doing all this, Annie grabs her headphones out of her bag and puts them on.
While Annie is sitting, waiting for the movie to start, the plane rocks a bit. Soon, the rocking gets faster and the aircraft is being buffeted along in the wind. The plane jerks down in particularly sharp movement and a lady screams along with the eight or so babies on board. There are people in the seats behind her whispering about wills and saying goodbye as the plane’s movement becomes ever more violent. There is a small lady in the isle across from Annie clutching a rosary and mumbling a prayer.
Babies are screaming, children are crying and all around her Annie can hear preparations for death. A newly wed couple kisses and hugs. A new mother holds her baby to her chest, rocking it and shushing it the best she can. There are tears in her eyes as she says the baby’s name. Melody.
Annie is scared but not for herself. Death is not a big deal for her. Annie is brave She is not scared to die. Annie wonders about the world without all these important people as she listens closely to the mother and her baby Melody thinking that their goodbye is the most important and worthy of a witness.
“Hush my Melody. Hush. Don’t cry.” The mother has tears in her eyes as Annie silently watches. Where is the father? Annie knows that he is not on this flight. Are they going to see him? Or are they flying away from him? She can’t tell.
In all the mayhem, Annie sits in her seat and watches calmly the goodbyes going on around her. She is alone. Annie has no one to say goodbye to. So she sits in her seat and ponders death. Will it hurt? Will she walk into a light and magically end up in heaven? Will there be a big staircase that leads into a cloud shrouded in light? Annie doesn’t think she’s done anything to get her a one-way ticket to hell and she doesn’t like thinking about the red-hot place somewhere below the ground so she doesn’t. She focuses on the dream of a better world somewhere in the sky.
Suddenly, a thought pierces Annie’s mind. When she dies, Annie will be able to see her sister. She is so close it almost hurts. Cora died when Annie was 15. She was her best friend and more like a mother then their actual mom. Although Cora was sick for a while, Annie always held out faith that she would get better. The day Cora died was the day Annie lost faith in a greater good and something more then this god-awful world. The day Cora died was the day Annie Serena Watts became a pessimist.
Although Cora was about five years older then Annie, She always played with her. Because Cora knew their mother never would, she spent the day playing all the stupid games Annie could come up with. She took care of Annie. She was like a mother making sure Annie got dinner and a bath and her homework done. It was Cora who studied for endless hours with Annie making sure that she understood everything and could get it right on the upcoming test. It was Cora who tucked Annie into bed and came running when Annie cried in her sleep. It was always Cora.
But she was also a best friend. Annie loved Cora more then anyone else in the world. That’s why it was Annie who was living with Cora and her husband when they came home from the doctors office on that horrible afternoon that started the flow of all the others. They came in the door and Annie noticed from dining room where she was doing her homework that something wasn’t right. Cora had her arm around John who’s eyes were spilling tears.
“What happened?” Annie asked her older sister. “I have brain cancer. They think they can cure it but it’s a long shot.” Cora stuttered on the words Brain Cancer, almost as if she couldn’t believe it. John let out a big sob and it finally sunk in for Annie. She might loose her sister.
And she did. But not until after hours and hours in the emergency room, days in the hospital and months on chemo. It wasn’t until Annie watched Cora slowly loose sight of who she was that reality started to make it’s way around Annie’s carefully built wall of fortitude.
When Cora got scared because the walls were turning into jello Annie was there. When her sister laughed because she was flying Annie was the one to hold her to earth. When it felt like Cora was so far away that no one could reach her Annie brought her back.
And it was Annie who watched her sister go to sleep one night only to come home from school the next day and find her in the same spot. It was Annie who realized that Cora would never come back. On Tuesday, May 14, 2001 Cora Celia Watts went into a coma in her home with her youngest sister by her side. She never woke up.
They said that she died peacefully. Annie had hoped with all her heart that they were right. Annie had played the most soothing music she knew when her sister wouldn’t wake up, knowing that there was nothing else she could do. She played the lullabies that Cora had played for Annie when she was little. They were the only thing that kept her sane in the months after the funeral.
These are the songs that play in Annie’s head while the plane buffets, bobs, dips and dives. While the other passengers are saying goodbye to their loved ones, Annie is trying to go through every verse of every song on that CD of lullabies.
Annie closes her eyes, singing to herself about a small boat on a big blue sea when the plane finally falls. Annie tightens her seatbelt as she feels herself falling.
Screams echo in her head as people hold tight to their family. Annie’s carryon bag falls off the seat next to her and she hears glass shatter. Oh well. There’s no use for perfume and nail polish in heaven.
The plane is falling fast as Annie looks across the isle at Melody and her mother. The baby’s eyes are screwed shut but she makes no noise. But that’s okay. Her mother is crying enough for both of them.
As the plane plummets Annie is sent back into her memory. It was about a month after Cora died. She stood in the elevator when it stopped suddenly halfway between floors 23 and 24. The light popped and sent sparks raining down on her. She had heard a twang of metal and then she was falling. Annie had thought then too that she was going to die. But when the elevator reached the second floor, it jerked to a stop.
And when the doors slowly opened, it was John who she ran to. Even though he had left Annie to deal with Cora, he was still Annie’s closest link to her dead sister.
It is John Annie thinks of now as she falls again. Only this time, it won’t be John waiting on the other side. It will be Cora.
But when the plane crashes into an open field, Annie does not go to see her sister. It is the front of the plane that lands in the rows and rows of wheat. They get to see their dead love ones because now, they are dead too. They are lucky for two reasons, as Annie sees it. Number one, they do not have to lay their eyes on the bloody horror that lies in front of her. Number two, they will get to see Cora. Annie envies them so much it actually hurts. Or is that the piece of plastic wedged into her arm?
Annie pulls out the long shard of sharp plastic and looks to find Melody and her mother but they are nowhere in sight. Annie becomes frantic, her eyes reaching over the bodies of people who used to have lives, friends, families and into the row they were sitting in. The mother is nowhere to be seen but Annie sees a little fist reaching into the air.
She crosses the isle and moves up two rows, keeping her eyes on the small hand to make sure nothing else registers and so she can’t see the bloody body lying in the isle.
When Annie reaches the baby, she sees that Melody is alone. Annie is scared for her. Melody cannot grow up without a mother. Annie looks one more time around the seat that the baby occupies, allowing her eyes to see everything. All the bodies. All the blood. All the faces of the people who are now on their way to heaven.
That’s when she sees her. Melody’s mother is lying in a pool of blood in the isle. It is the body that Annie avoided before. The mother is still breathing but soon she will be gone too.
Annie picks up the child and bends down so that Melody’s mother can see that she is unhurt.
“Your baby is ok.” Annie says. She has no idea what to say in a situation like this so she just tells the information that is needed.
“Thank you.” The mom pants, “Thank you. Please. I know I won’t last long but Melody can make it. Please take her. Raise her. Love her. Melody cannot live without both her parents. Her father died two months ago. When I die, she will be alone. Please take her.” She reaches over and picks up a small blue bunny with a yellow ribbon around his neck and hands it to Annie. “We used to call it her Moo Moo.” She tells Annie. “Let me see my baby.” The mother is close to her last breath as Annie hands over the child.
She kisses Melody on the forehead, breathes her name and then goes limp. Annie stares at the dead woman in front of her until the screams of the other survivors make her jump.
Annie grabs Melody tries to find a way out of the wreckage.
She sees a door with a big yellow blow up slide protruding out of it. She runs for it with Melody and Moo Moo in her arms.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

EMO EMY=NORMAL 212 said...
Jan. 6, 2009 at 2:49 am
OMG!!!!!!! I was crying and the last time i cried was 2 years ago when my friend died. I have ben to 1 funeral other then theres and that famly member was verry close to me and loved them dearly but anyway I dident shead a tear I did cry but no tears like i was out and just now when I read your story U fealt l8ike I was there like I lost my sister and that made my heart literaly hurt like some one had stabed a knife in my heart and had cut a chunk out of it. You are an amasing auther please emai... (more »)
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback