second hand news

Chilli warmed her. She’d been kicking her way through crisp leaves. Exhaustion had kept her in the house for most of the week; today was for skipping and socialising. There’d been chatting and thinking and writing. Now she enjoyed  rest, reflection and  lunch.

“Change your routine”, they’d said.

“Sit in a cafe”, they’d said.

As she wrote about the whys and wherefores of her world, her heart began to race, her anxiety built. Her words blurred on the page, her mind caught by the words from the next table.

“You know what it’s like landing there at the best of times… the wind…the plane was rocking from side to side…”

She could see his outstretched arms in her peripheral vision. His tale was dramatic, worthy of large gestures.

“He took us right down to inches above the ground and pulled straight up again. Twice. People were clinging to the seats in front of them and screaming. By the third attempt the rosaries were out…”

She considered a rosary herself. Her hands clammy, her breath short, her heart pumped. The warming, nourishing, chilli stuck in her throat. The caffeine wasn’t helping.

She remembered the flight, years ago, with a friend who, taking her hand during takeoff, had commented “It’s true. You really don’t like flying.” What a prat!

In the cafe she was already wondering about the others on the plane- when would they fly again? No matter how scary, the landing had been made safely. His story proceeded with screaming people, pale flight attendants, a calm pilot, and his own adrenaline buzz. If it were her, she’d be a nervous wreck, checking out boats and trains.

She was lost now, her thoughts derailed. She needed to leave the cafe, to breathe to the autumn air, to remind her body that she hadn’t actually been on that flight. Was there such a thing as second hand anxiety?

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8 thoughts on “second hand news”

  1. I do believe in second-hand stress…I can catch it rather easily, actually! Yikes! I’m not a comfortable traveler at all. I take tranquilizers before I can even get on a plane, so your story gives me chills…and long-distance second-hand stress. But it is beautifully written, Fiona!

    1. Thank you Debra, and apologies if you had to revert to the tranquilizers! I rarely fly, and usually have the girls with me, so I’m always busy pretending to be calm. They see through me now though 🙂

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