The Point of no Return

John K Adams
ILLUMINATION
Published in
10 min readApr 26, 2024

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Allen boarded the plane, stowed his carry-on and found his seat. The interminable layover, now ended, allowed him to relax. Dusk settled over the airport. He hated taking the red-eye, but this was his last chance to go where he’d never wanted to go.

The P.A. squawked. “Ladies and gentlemen, there will be a brief delay before take-off. Please exit the plane. You can leave your carry-on luggage but take anything you may need with you.

A loud groan erupted from the passengers. A stewardess murmured something about ‘mechanical trouble’ to a steward. Moments later, everyone knew.

A baby squalled. Passengers filed out, returning to the terminal and awaited re-boarding.

A toddler protested. “Where are we going, mom? I want to fly.” The mother patted her and said, “They’re just checking something, Wendy. Making it safe… We’ll leave soon.”

Shuffling down the aisle, Allen wondered, ‘How serious is this ‘mechanical trouble’? They forget to plug it in? Did an engine fall off? Was this a euphemism for ‘we found a bomb’?

Doctors and nurses he worked with have a lexicon of terms used to mask their opinions from patient’s family members. He kept his thoughts to himself. Clarification was not forthcoming. ‘They don’t know and they ain’t talkin’.’

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John K Adams
ILLUMINATION

I write to see memory and language wrestle with reality. Please comment.