On our descent to Seattle, the sound of screaming woke me.
Then turbulence struck. Like a bomb.
Our plane leapt and bounced and veered.
Children squealed. Someone yelled, “Terrorist!” Latches ripped off their hinges and sundry kits flew down the aisles like cannonballs.
The woman next to me looked oddly unafraid. I figured she’d gone into a form of shock, so I took her hand and shouted, “We’ll be all right!”
She pressed her other hand to her lips, peaceful, kissing the trinket from her necklace.
Then, just as sudden as the turbulence had hit, it ended. We flattened out, the plane continuing its descent, finding the runway with little-to-no wheel skid.
It reeked of vomit. I stank, as well, my shirt dripping sweat, pants soaked with urine.
I tried to cover myself with a napkin.
On a pad of paper the woman wrote, “Are you okay?”
When she tapped the paper, I realized she was deaf.
“I’m fine,” I said. “And you?”
She smiled, stood up, walked down the aisle and out.
A boyfriend met her at baggage. They kissed, then signed. She made bumping motions and laughed. Across her neck, the silver cross jangled.
My heart felt small, but it beat hard, filled with so many questions I’d never ask: what it was like to be deaf, brave, to be so certain.