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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In Silence


I plopped down on my seat, and sighed. I was hoping for a window seat on this flight home from New York. Coming home to a home that was no longer a home after my parents’ separation was a really hard trip to make. I needed time to work things out. But here I was, on an aisle seat. Next to a guy with eyes bluer than the ocean… A guy…

Hey, I knew this guy! I looked closely at him. He was looking out the porthole. Sometimes he nodded his head to the tune of a song he was listening to on his earphones.

“Going to Des Moines?” I said, trying my luck. I had to raise my voice above the loud music that I could hear even without the earphones.

“What?” He stared at me, taking off the earphones. “Des Moines? Yeah. Yeah.” His voice trailed off. My heart leapt up.

Des Moines! Perfect! I mustered the courage to ask, “You’re Jordan Ward, aren’t you?”

He stared hard at me. I freaked out. I felt my face reddening at once.

“Sorry,” I muttered lamely, dropping my eyes. “I thought you were him. He’s from Des Moines, Iowa too. And his eyes are as blue as yours. But---”

I suddenly realized that I was being stupid. Millions of blue-eyed people come from Des Moines! I cleared my throat nervously, “Sorry, again.”

His face broke into a wide smile. “No need to. I am Jordan Ward.” He offered me his hand and shook mine warmly.

I was too speechless to even want to have that chat I dreamed of just a few moments ago, or even think of asking for his autograph. My God! I’m on the same plane with Jordan Ward! I adored him, big time. I knew all there was to know about him. I’d watched all his movies. He was great, really talented. But as to his private life, I’d read that only a handful of his closest friends knew about it. All I knew was that his parents got divorced when he was very young. I’d read somewhere that he always said his parents’ separation was not a big deal for him. But, wasn’t it really? How I wished I could ask him what he really thought of the whole wretched thing. I would be intruding into his privacy, I knew. Still, it was not every day I could sit right next to the famous Jordan Ward on a plane…

A plane. Yes. I nearly forgot that I was on a plane if it hadn’t been for the sudden lurching motion. A turbulence? I thought I was going to be sick. My eyes caught Jordan’s. He must have seen how pale my face had become.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered, more to himself most likely. “We won’t crash.”

But the plane seemed to be getting even more out of control, dropping sharply for hundreds of frightening meters before steadying again, only to rock violently the next second. There was panic and chaos in the cabin as oxygen masks were dropping suddenly.

“We’re not going down,” said Jordan, taking my hand. “We’re not.”

But I knew we would. I was sure we would. I shut my eyes, praying. Then I heard everybody scream, even Jordan. Bottomless darkness came over me.

***

I was awakened by a soft tap on my shoulder.

“Jordy. Wake up, hon. We’re off to Mississippi today, remember?”

I yawned and slowly opened my eyes. I didn’t feel like leaving my cozy bed. But confusion started to wash over me. Jordy? Who was Jordy? And this was not even my bed or bedroom. Where was I?

My mind slowly registered some things. A loud bang. A plane. Going down. Oh, my God! I remembered now. I remembered the crash, and I remembered Jordan Ward holding my hand through it all.

I looked around, trying to spot him. Did he die? But the more I looked the more confused I got. The place didn’t look remotely like a crash site. I was in a bedroom, and… did the woman really call me Jordy? But, how come?

I ran to the nearest open door. It was the bathroom. But when I saw my reflection in the mirror, I was in for a real shock. I was no longer an 18 year-old girl with long, dark hair. I only saw a boy, about twelve, with short, dark brown hair and big, azure eyes.

“Aaahh!” Even my scream sounded strange.

There was a knock on the door. “Jordy?” It was that lady again. “Is everything all right?” I froze. Was it Jordan’s… “my” mom?

But a loud smack jolted me back from the shock. There was a cry from outside the bathroom. Jordy’s mom! I rushed out, and guided by the soft sobs from the far side of the house, I made my way to the parlor. I heard a man and a woman talking behind the door.

“Where are you going to take him this time?” barked the man, who turned his eyes to me the moment I walked in.

“Mississippi,” answered Jordan’s mom softly. “The contract was signed two months ago…”

“What!” the man cut in sharply. “I told you I am the one who has to approve all his contracts!”

“But you weren’t home. And those people had been waiting for four months.”

I could only watch in horror as the man suddenly struck Jordan’s mom hard on the cheek. I clenched my fist. He would regret doing it for the rest of his life! I was a boy and I was not going to let him get away with it!

“How dare you!” I screamed, pounding on the man’s back. But it didn’t help at all. Instead, he turned around and glared madly at me. I looked up, trembling.

My mom grabbed me from behind. “No, please Mark!” she begged, tears streaming down her cheeks, one of which was red where the man had slapped her. “He’s your son!”

I nearly choked. Son? He was my father? Or, rather---Jordan’s? A beast like that---his father?



Everything blurred suddenly. Apparently I had blacked out again. I gasped and opened my eyes. I was lying on the ground this time, amid the ruins of the plane, with bright lights blinking from the top of ambulances and fire trucks, and the hurried, urgent bustle of the rescue workers around me. But I was alive…and myself again. Slowly I moved my right hand and found it still in someone’s grip. Jordan’s.

I stirred and quickly checked for his pulse. Thank God, he was still alive. There was nothing I could do now but wait.

I still vividly remembered what I had just gone through. I wondered if it was a dream, or a memory; and whether there was something in the way we were holding hands that transferred his thoughts to me.

I pushed his hair back from his forehead and looked at the frown that he wore even when he was unconscious. The poor boy. I knew now how he felt. It must have been awful, keeping all those nightmares from the whole world. In silence.
           
           
Glossary:
azure (adj.) : bright blue
           


           
           



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