The rain covered tarmac looked lonesome out the window. I watched as the workers finished putting all our bags into the hold. The wait seemed to take forever as the child behind me kicked my seat. This was the last flight out of here I could take today. I knew I should say something, but I had traveled through worse.
As the captain made the announcements and the plane started to taxi, I was left wondering if I could get any sleep during the short trip from New York to DC. Thinking to myself that I should have just taken the train. The soft sounds of the rails are always easy to sleep to. I looked out my window again and saw the pilot testing the wing flaps. Just normal preflight checks.
It all seemed mundane, a plane preparing to take off. The screaming child, not old enough to understand being crammed into a small space was part of all of our lives these days. People putting in earplugs and slipping neck pillows to try to relax. I tried to do the same, but the one youngster was still kicking my seat. I thought again about saying something, but I’d rather not deal with an argument with an obviously uncaring parent.
As the plane sat at the ready, I knew we would be in the air in the next few minutes. Lighting flashed out in the distance. I knew planes were hit by lighting all the time in the air, they were designed for it. I watched the storm approach. I wondered if we would be delayed, but as I thought so the plane started to accelerate down the runway.
I watched the ground speeding by, I waited for that lifting feeling as we took off. As I watched the plane wing, I saw the bright flash, and the line burned into my retina. The wing had been struck. I looked on in horror as I realized the wing flap was facing down. I unbuckled myself wanting to tell anyone, but it was all happening so fast. I watched as the pilot seemed to be pulling back on the stick, the flap wiggled but stayed down. The feeling of the other side of the plane lifting up but seeing my side turn down.
I awoke on a stretcher, a paramedic trying to talk to me asking me if I am ok. Her voice seemed distanced as I raised my head and saw what was left of the plane. The inferno was still going on, as they tried to tame it. I saw the bodies then. They were strewn across the ground some burned others mangled. I looked down at myself and saw singed clothes and unblemished skin underneath. It appeared as if nothing was broken, I felt no pain, I felt nothing. The paramedics were talking about me being lucky, I had been ejected as the plane tore itself apart and been thrown clear. A one in a million chance they called it. No one else had survived.