'That silly star stalks quietly just overhead, racing to the flat end of our round world. It lingers tirelessly, effortlessly, then as it nears its destination, hurries downward in a burst of fury - a stone dropped into an empty well. So much as one stray glance or the blink of an unexpecting eye and the show is over, stamped out of sight and mind until the next clockwork morning. So is the day and so is the night. Begun with a beginning, ended with an ending. It's a heavenly constant, a routine that torments and domesticates the upward minds of thinking and not-so-thinking men. Of which I am one.'
That's what I wrote as the turbine engines churned and the clouds' horizon swallowed the sun whole. I was watching with strained eyes, never blinking, as the fiery ball diminished and drowned slowly in the atmosphere. It left remnants of its light scattered about the sky. I slumped back in my seat. The double-paned window I'd been looking out was streaked by the hundreds of faceless travelers that had pressed against it. Outside and below me, the airplane's wing shook unsteadily - but thousands of miles of relentless flight had brought assurance in this rickety contraption. There were no birds accompanying us; we were alone in the heavens.
My thoughts were interrupted. "Something to drink?"
"Yes. Tomato juice - with pepper," I replied with eyes still at that window. It needed to be cleaned. I paused for a moment before looking up at her.
She nodded absently with the faux-smile of a flight attendant, then jotted down my request and moved on to the passengers further behind me. I'd had enough of peanuts and crackers and formalities. I was ready to just sit and shut my eyes, not to sleep but to think. I closed my notebook and filed it in the backpack beneath my seat. The chair recline button was stuck, so I put up the armrest and stretched out across my seat and the open one next to me.
"Sir?" Startled by her voice, I jumped slightly but noticeably, and sat up in my chair.
"Tomato juice with pepper." She still didn't look right at me. Couldn't she make eye contact with anyone?
"Thanks." I sort of mumbled it. I guess I had drifted off. Not my intention.