I sit on the plane, alive and aware, as the Parkinson’s courses through its cycles of mistrust, ceding disdain’s focused calm to the shadow game that surrounds.
No longer able to reliably drive, I took the three-hour shuttle to SeaTac Sunday afternoon, much as the rest of my life, consigned through unearned promotion the role of watcher, my sole interaction of purpose being writing to you in this connection of grace.
Unable—so far—to vanquish the fear stemming from attachment to this body, old trauma resurfaces in predictable ways. As I stumble in a levodopa fog, the familiar airport surroundings remind me of my pre-planned goal. I must walk the quarter mile of bridged pedestrians to the elevator, go down to ground level, then hoof it to the hotel. It is a daunting challenge in my present condition, with body shaking and voice little more than a slurred mumble.
Past pre-flight jitters of examination-grilling check rides lurk at the edge of consciousness: remembering key piloting numbers—crosswind corrections, approach parameters, and so on—while flying 200 passengers who trust you for their very existence. Then the true triggering source comes into cognition’s view: memories of the airliner’s crash axe resting loosely in my lap, just days after 9/11.
The imaginary script of mindful illusion runs its course, allowing for sufficient space to recognize it for what it is, and it evaporates into the ethereal. Spending the night at an airport hotel should allow sufficient sleep to make tomorrow’s scheduled 0705 flight.
It is pushing back at the disease at its finest. What will be learned? I smile, welcoming my old friend, the unknown, through the eyes of nobody, not a nobody, but nothing at all. I get to the hotel, smiling broadly, the first leg of my journey, complete.
To be continued…