The stewardess pours you another gin and tonic and you can tell she’s keeping tabs on how many you’ve had since you left Dubai. You’ve turned down 3 snacks already, meat and pastry in wet cardboard, you feel slightly buzzed. The guy next to you is your age and smells faintly of body odour and has been in Poland for 3 weeks. He flew there to meet a girl he has been speaking to online for 8 years. He has never had a girlfriend and his entire family are convinced he’s gay. He travelled there with the belief she was a fat old man pretending to be a 20 year old woman. He tells you this within the first 35 minutes of the second leg of your long haul flight. He spent the night before the flight in a borrowed Jeep that he crashed into a tree, he’s got 4 valium in his pocket so, could you like, wake him up every time they come round with food? You say yes, but you don’t.
It feels oddly intimate to have a stranger sleep next to you, and at times sleep on you, and what feels even more strange is that you don’t really mind. The weight of a human zonked out on diazepam is comforting, as you blindly cruise into the onyx abyss above the Indian Ocean. Your mouth is metallic and fearful, or it could be the quinine of the tonic water, whatever.
He wakes up as you are watching Cabaret and he asks you what the fuck is that on the screen. Legs splayed, tap shoes, face paint. You aren’t really watching, everything is stale and suspended in the grey wash of the cabin. He tells you he’s booking a flight straight back to Poland when he gets back to Melbourne, he’ll be with her at Christmas, she’s perfect and he’ll propose and learn Polish. He wants an Eastern European wife because his mother is of Polish descent and they are the perfect homemakers.
He falls asleep mid sentence and for a second you think he has died, deservedly struck down peddling his antiquated notion of women’s domesticity. He begins to snore and you retreat back into your brain.
You’ve left your entire life behind and it is time for a new one. Nothing for you there, nothing for you here. What if you were to only exist in this cabin, listening to this record forever, on an insane loop. You’ve never felt less of a person in your entire life, and it feels incredible.