We're in middle seats waiting for takeoff. I try to remind myself not to be afraid of flying. I'm thirsty. I have to pee.
The plane is full. Why haven't they distanced the passengers? Why is no one wearing a mask?
Why are we not wearing masks?
I turn to Stephen: "We forgot our masks! We didn't bring one mask for this entire trip!"
What are we doing traveling in the middle of a pandemic? What are all of these people doing traveling in the middle of a pandemic?
The man sitting behind me is trying to get me to read his short stories, which are stashed in a box under my seat. The flight attendant drops by to accuse Stephen of forging the painting he had put in the overhead compartment. In the opposite aisle, another flight attendant helps a passenger by stowing his gun in a closet.
I get up to find the bathroom. The back of the plane is a rummage sale filled with items people are pawing over. White crockery. Scented candles. There are long lines waiting at the checkouts. People packed in. And in the corner, a bar. Everyone is having a lovely time.
I wake up in a panic. It was a dream. Sun runs across the quiet bedroom. But the panic doesn't really subside. That airplane. That is what being in America right now feels like.