Airline Loves You
Seatbelts on, tray tables up, backs upright.
I am sitting in 15L.
L for Love, L for Lonely, L for Language, L for Lucky, L for Liar, L for Loonybin, L for Laughter, L for Latina, L for Life, L for Learned, L for Loyalty, L for Longing, L for Lee- that’s my mom.
I’m on the way to see my mom.
When I was fifteen I asked her to write me a letter addressed to:
Right aisle, Row 15, Seat L, AA362.
My seatbelt is off, my tray table is down, my chair is leaned back.
The attendant walks down the aisle towards my row and sings the rules.
My seatbelt is on the floor, my legs are on the tray table, my shirt is off.
The fifteen year old boy sitting in 15J is positioned sideways, feet dangling in the aisle. His back is to me. J for Jerk. The deaf guy in 15K won’t leave me alone K for Kissing (please stop kissing me). The attendant gets to Jerk and asks him to move his feet in. He obliges and she keeps marching down.
I am screaming for her. She does not turn around.
L for Loser (I am losing).
The screen lights up in front of me, the deaf guy’s elbow knocked into it, there’s a message.
Message from Lee:
I Love You (in sign language).
His hand comes down onto my face and I stop screaming.
Shit. I shouldn’t be flying home for Christmas.
My mom is like Santa, she’s been watching the entire time.
The deaf guy finishes on top of me, zips his pants and slides back into his seat. He puts his seatbelt on, tray table up, back upright. The flight attendant beams in recognition.
Everything is in order.
Her eyes move over to my body. She notices that my seatbelt is off, my tray table is down, and my chair is leaned back. She whispers to the chief purser and he shrugs, repeating something back to her. They look away.
The plane is landing and all the screens light up. The deaf guy watches as a The Airline Loves You (in sign language) pop up message appears on his screen. He takes a swig of water from a plastic bottle and winks at the flight attendants.
I stare at my screen. There’s an error symbol and a message:
Your address is no longer available because an organization has reserved Right aisle, Row 15, Seat L, AA362. Don’t worry. Your data is safe. To use it, you need to create a different address. Your security settings will remain the same.
Sofia Castillo is a writer and artist from Miami, Florida.