The joint wedding ceremony was beautiful. Sydney looked ravishing in a white mermaid dress and Maxwell looked very handsome as well. Nora noticed that Eva was wearing Jim’s grandmother’s engagement ring. Jim had told Nora dozens of times that someday he would give it to Ian to give to his wife when he got married. What a crock. Against her wishes, Nora was forced by Sydney to stay for the wedding reception. Nora made a short and sweet toast about how she had known Max and Sydney would get married someday from the day they met. She even forced a tear strained, “I love you” at the end. Just before Nora was going to leave she heard the clinking of another toast being made. She turned to see that it was none other than Jim.
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“Excuse me, I would like to say thank you to my fantastic ex wife Nora for that wonderful speech,” Jim smiled politely at an escaping Nora, “but on another note, this is a very special day for Eva and myself. We are making our love permanent and official. It brings me great joy to see my little Sydney get married along side of me. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect situation. Since we are in the tradition of killing two birds with one stone, I thought that Eva and I should just make our announcement while everyone was listening already.” Eva squirmed in her seat cooing and giggling at her daring new husband. “We’re pregnant!”
The wedding guests erupted in clapping and joyous yells. Nora rolled her eyes and shot a disgusted look at Jim. She immediately walked out of the room, picked up her coat and got into her car. Nora rolled down all of the windows on her car and sped as quickly as she could out of the parking lot. She laughed to herself, “this is just fucking typical!” She was totally done. This was over. She had a one way ticket to Paris, France. She would get on the red eye tonight and finally experience the liberation she had always looked forward to. She had savings money lined up and was staying indefinitely.
After leaving detailed notes for all of her children and sending Jim a nasty but informative email about her trip; she was off. Nora drove to the airport and checked her luggage. As she waited to board, she ate a Milky Way candy bar. As the woman boarded her flight, Nora took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly. She couldn’t believe her spontaneity. She giggled to herself as a few other passengers stared in confusion. It didn’t matter; it finally didn’t matter. The plane took off from the runway smoothly. Nora looked out at the stars, as the plane rose is elevation. Nora took out her copy of Candide by Voltaire and smiled. The book was also entitled optimism and that was exactly what this part of Nora’s life was about. Nora fell into a deep sleep until she was jolted awake by the voice of the pilot.
“We may be experiencing some turbulence, but do not worry folks it should be over in no time.” The fasten seatbelt light flickered on. Nora looked over at the face of the man sitting next to her. His jaw was square and strongly defined. His hairline was receding slightly but it was barely noticeable. He was reading Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. The man had the most perfect ears, Nora thought. They were not too long; the lobes were not attached but not hanging limply. They just barely stuck out and were rounded flawlessly. When the man caught Nora staring she quickly recovered.
“I’m sorry, I was just trying to get a better look at the book you’re reading,” Nora quickly explained.
The man smiled, “Oh, yes it’s Into the Wild, you’ve probably heard of the movie.”
“Actually no, I don’t get out much,” Nora said, “Is it good?”
“Yes, very much so. I admire the main character so much. He just leaves his entire life behind to go live out his dreams.”
Nora laughed. Now this was the book she ought to be reading, she thought. How ironic.
“And yours?” The man motioned to Nora’s partially opened copy of Candide.
“Oh, well as you can see I’m only pages in. I’m pretty sure I don’t understand it already,” Nora smiled.
The man smiled a big toothy grin. His teeth were impeccably white. The plane shook rather roughly.
“Looks like we’re headed towards a storm. Hope you don’t get scared too easily,” the man said looking out the window.
“Oh, not me,” Nora leaned over, “I’m a tough cookie.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name, I’m Scott, Scott McKinley.” The two shook hands.
“Hi Scott, my name is Nora Malone, excuse me, Nora Cassidy. I recently reverted back to my maiden name,” Nora said girlishly.
“Divorce?” Scott asked bluntly.
Surprised by his question, Nora said, “why yes, you certainly get right to the point.”
The plane shook intensely, Nora inadvertently grabbed onto Scott’s leg for support. She quickly removed her grip and turned her face away to hide her beet red cheeks.
Scott smiled, pretending to not have noticed the physical contact. “I’m divorced too.”
“Sorry,” Nora lamented.
“Nothing to be sorry for,” Scott said, “shit happens.”
Nora let out a pure hearty laugh. The lights on the plane flickered as the cabin shook viciously. A woman shrieked and a baby cried. The flight attendants returned to their seats. The pilot came onto the loud speaker, “don’t worry folks just a little bit more of turbulence, looks like there is a storm just passing by. Keep your seatbelts on and remain seated. This will be over in no time.”
The plane continued to rock something fierce. She had never felt turbulence this strong before. Nora felt her body being jolted from side to side. She looked out the window but it was too dark to see anything. There was a loud thump and some baggage came out of the overhead compartments. There was constant shaking as more people began to hyperventilate and cry. Nora’s heart began to pound. The oxygen masks fell from the ceiling. She panicked. The plane felt like it was tilting to one side. Bolts of lightning provided the only light in the cabin and booms of thunder shook the entire craft. Nora noticed that everyone was bending over and holding their ankles. The plane was losing altitude. The engine sounded strained and she could smell smoke. Nora felt tears forming in her eyes, she looked for Scott. Their eyes met. She felt for his hand. He smiled comfortingly and interlocked his fingers between hers. “It’ll all be over soon,” He told her. Nora could barely hear him over all the screams of terror around her. Nora’s stomach dropped as the air pressure in the cabin seemed to disappear. She gasped for air and felt a warm rush of sleepiness come over her. She closed her eyes and felt herself drift into a black hole. She was light and feathery. Nora’s body swirled around and was sucked into a cushion of black clouds. This is bliss, she thought to herself. She had never felt so calm. Then there was nothing.