24 June 2010

"Come Together" #Fridayflash



Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com




The flight attendant served 7-Up to Dad, Orange Crush to Mom, and a Hi-C juice box to little Violet. She winked at Violet and proceeded down the aisle.

Violet strained to see over the seat to follow the nice lady with her eyes. It was better than being trapped in-between her parents.

“Of all the impossible things you could’ve come up with Marshall—”

“It’s for the best. I think that if we just work together we can save this—”

Violet asked to be taken to the potty often. It was the only break in conversation; Mom looked distressed and in need of a break. She was pretty, but with lines creasing her brow she looked tired.

“I’m sorry Vi, we can’t get up just yet. You’ll have to hold it.”

Her plot foiled, Violet glowered at the back of the seat afore her. The urge to kick it tickled her mind. Mom and Dad were busy ignoring the fact that they couldn’t talk to one another anymore. She nearly gave in to her last resort, a temper-tantrum, before the plane listed to the right; the sound of a small explosion rocked the cabin’s occupants.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if I may have your attention. This is an emergency. You must remain calm. Please view your emergency procedures booklet and follow the instructions.”

“He’s kidding, isn’t he Marshall?”

“I don’t know.” Dad’s face was dark and pale at the same time. “Violet honey, are you alright?”

Violet nodded mutely. Mom screamed as the masks dropped from the ceiling. Dad put his mask on and helped Violet with hers. Mom hyperventilated into hers.

“What are we going to do Marshall? We’re going to die! We can’t die like this! This is—”

“Cynthia! Stop it! Where is the woman I married?”

Mom whimpered. She was crying. Violet clung to the armrests, realizing that this was all a very bad thing, but something was happening.

“I don’t know Marshall. The job, the money, the pressure to be better and better—”

Dad’s moustache bristled. “You’re already my personal best.” Noise picked up in the cabin. Violet saw Dad’s eagle tattoo cross her chest to reach her mother. A strained smile. “We must work together now. Will you work with me?”

Cynthia nodded, dabbing at her nose with a sleeve.

At Dad’s request, they unbuckled their belts and pulled Violet down between them. The descent was deafening now at a higher pitch. They faced one another, wrapping themselves around Violet, hands clutching arms, and Mom’s perfume soothing.  Their words were lost in the boom as the final engine exploded.

_______

Did they survive? I'd like to think so. I wanted to present the point that in the most dire of circumstances, attitudes can changeoften for the better. Maybe we shouldn't wait til then. Cheers - C.C.

28 comments:

Eric J. Krause said...

Very cool story. Liked it a TON how you left the ending open for us to decide on our own. I'd like to think everything turned out for the best, but I have a feeling that they (and we) will simply have to be happy with the fact that they reconciled at the end.

Cathy Olliffe said...

Soothed by her mother's perfume... I absolutely love that. And I loved how the parents put aside their differences to protect their daughter or at least allay her fear. Carrie, this was lovely. A sweet little dose of realistic family life, sans the crash, of course. My first flash of the week and an excellent one.

Laura Eno said...

Great show of coming together under extreme stress, when it really matters.

PS I don't think they made it. :P

T.S. Bazelli said...

This was so touching, to see parents pull through their personal problems and fears for their daughter in a terrible situation.

My first thought was that everyone died but Vi - but I do like how you left the ending open.

Gracie said...

Great story, Carrie. Little Violet's viewpoint was really strong. I love your ability to convey so much with so few words. Brilliant.

Michael Solender said...

exactly why we need to live each day as if it were our last..

John Wiswell said...

Like Cathy, my favorite detail was being soothed by her mother's perfume.

It's interesting to read your author's statement at the end, because I read their last argument as something mundane, and possibly something they hadn't had for the first time. I'd also prefer them to survive, and since you left it open, I say they did.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Oh, that was beautiful. Yes, when we reach the point of "pure life" without the "stuff" our priorities shift really fast.

I think their reconciliation and coming together for their child is the only ending they need.

melissalwebb said...

Great story. It shows that in the end family is the most important thing.

Tony Noland said...

I liked how they set everything aside when they had to.

I don't think they survived.

Benjamin Solah said...

I really like the message of this, that people can still come together in tough times, but would love to know more!

Kristy Baxter said...

Very well done. Lots of little details that made it come alive. And thanks for the open ending--I have a soft spot for those.

Erin Cole said...

Always love the intensity of your writes.
Phineas Gage had a railroad nail explode through his eye socket and into his brain. He survived; I suppose miracles do happen, but I don't really believe in them - maybe odd coincidences; maybe if Violet is really a gay midget working for the CIA, who has never flown, and just happened to buy a winning lotto ticket. Then they might live.

Pavitra .... said...

Brilliant work! Very well narrated!
"In the most dire of circumstances, attitudes can change—often for the better. Maybe we shouldn't wait till then. "
Loved the line!
I loved how you didn't give a definite ending...wanting us to think about it!
Lovely! Keep writing more!
Cheers!! :)

Bukowski's Basement said...

Chilling post, carrie... And yes, I'd like to think they survived as well. But something tells me they didn't ;(

Great write.

Diandra said...

I'd think it more likely they'd go "And it's all your fault we're in this airplane!" - "Well, it's YOUR mother we're visiting!" - "But you made us fly instead of going 3,000 miles by car!" etc pp ad nauseam. (^v^)

Sulci Collective said...

see this is why I won't fly on airplanes - all that forced reconciliation and togetherness of one's parents...

Good story and nice moral conflict

Jen Brubacher said...

I really want to believe they survived, too! This is a really interesting look at how attitudes can change, like you say. Though I'm tempted to side with Diandra that these things don't always bring out the best in people.

Deanna said...

LOVE this Carrie, how you portray the depths of their emotions in so few words. The details make the whole story palpable.

My thought on the ending? Vi lives to become a strong, brave woman because of the experience. The only thing she's afraid of is allowing someone to love her, for fear of losing them. We need to hear her whole life story! *hint* ;)

Simply fantastic work!

Icy Sedgwick said...

And people wonder why I don't fly...

Nice to see them reconcile at the end, although I too like to think that they were all okay and learned a valuable lesson.

shannon said...

This is seriously my worst fear. And my husband is getting on a plane as I'm typing this, so I probably shouldn't have kept reading! lol It pulled me in, though and I guess facing life and death together is all we can do.

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

Very riveting read. I like that you don't tell us what happened. I think the best stories have open-ended endings like that. Very well done. So glad that I finally have the time to read friday flashes again.

admin said...

There's a lot to be said for making your peace and tying up all your loose ends before you fly. Though statistically speaking ....

MkCrittenden said...

OMg,love this! What a rare and wonderful thing it is to realize that something is awesome before it goes up in flames, eh? Makes you want to stop and look around. Great story!

pegjet said...

"Where is the woman I married?" Toughest question for anyone to answer.

Violet is a wonderful character. I would hate to learn she exploded.

antisocialbutterflie said...

Nice story with very vivid imagery. I appreciate you putting this picture in my head a week before I get on an airplane.

I will say the narrator's voice seemed a little first-person-y which isn't a bad but I thought there was another person whose parent were ignoring him.

PJ said...

Nothing like a life and death situation to bring things into proper perspective. It's true - we need to remind ourselves of how lucky we are from time to time ;-)

Pamila Payne said...

Children always know just what is going on with their parents. Liked that the story was told from Violet's POV, it somehow makes it more ominous.