So soon they were close to landing, and she was the only one who didn't sleep. The sounds of people vomiting around her kept her up, as did the asinine sitcom they had put on to soothe others to sleep. Television didn't soothe her, but jacked her up until she couldn't come down. Theresa usually popped a few Benadryl when she couldn't sleep at home (home was gone), but this was a plane, and she had to be alert for the small person beside her, so she allowed her eyes to glow red in the semi-dark of the night flight. The flight was smooth, which she was glad of, but the fact that turbulence was light over Canada didn't answer the question of why so many passengers were throwing up. Norovirus. She thought. That traveler's curse. All over Alaska, too, because of all the cruise ships.
She tried to write a letter to friends, that she knew she wouldn't send. She tried to sleep more. She tried to read more. She was the only person awake in the crowded cabin who wasn't vomiting. She had to pee, but the bathrooms smelled like stomach acid. So she looked at her husband and boy child and sighed a little too loudly. Companionship would be nice, and though it was sweet that her son was so close to her, his knees and elbows pushing into her as he struggled to find comfort in his seat (and in his sleep) wasn't fun. It reminded her of the half-wistful, half-annoyance of her pregnancy. Beautiful but pushy. Her time was no longer her own.
She shook them both awake as the captain blearily told them that they were approaching Anchorage. She gathered her magazines, the portable dvd player, their many layers of Winter clothing. Theresa didn't feel like getting off the plane. She felt like staying on until it turned around. Not necessarily to what was just recently home, but to somewhere else even. Somewhere less exotic and more cost effective. And she knew there wasn't a bed to sleep in, but one of those inflatable mattresses when they arrived at their friends' house one hour from the airport. There were dogs, and more children, and solitude only in the bathroom. She tried to find humor in the situation (as normally she was a light, funny, bubbling over type person), but already the layers and the vomit and the loss of pet cat had buried that silly miss just a little bit deeper. She wondered when the next time she and Alex would dance wildly to drum beats and imitate barnyard animals. She wondered when she would go out with a passel of gay men again, glorious and shining. She wondered when she and Ben would stay up late watching horrible Science Fiction, rolling in laughter and then rolling on the floor onto and into each other.
Then Theresa stopped thinking all together and helped Ben and Alex out of their seats and off of the plane. The air already felt thinner and drier, even through the tarmac tunnel.