Jacob and I sat next to each other on the plane. We were riding on Southwest airlines which does not have assigned seating. Our group of four had been some of the last to register for seating, so there were slim pickings for seats. Mom and Brian each chose a middle seat in between strangers. Jacob and I held on to hope that we would be able to sit together and lady luck was with us! We sat in the very back row. A larger woman had taken the window seat which was fine because neither of us cared to stare morosely out the window during the flight. Jacob graciously took the middle seat and I got the aisle seat. Score for me!! Our loud, boisterous conversation prior to take off surely made her regret not sitting in between two other people who might have been quiet so she could sleep during her flight. We should have offered her the chance to change seats with mom or Brian.
Jacob and I are always loud when we are together. It’s our go-to volume. Jacob has some hearing loss from his many ear issues and surgeries from when he was a kid. He compensates by getting louder. I am just loud. Together, we are obnoxiously loud. Mom and Brian find our volume charming.
Anyway, Jacob and I sat together on the plane ride out and, as it was early morning for me and the end of a long night for him, we talked loudly and carried on an obnoxious conversation. I threatened to talk to Jacob throughout the duration of the flight and he threatened to tell me about his activities of the previous night and the woman who stole the window seat from Mom (it’s pure theft now in my mind) pursed her lips and closed her eyes. I’m sure she was just tired. At one point, Jacob told me he wanted some of whatever I was on. I felt that was an invitation to talk about my Paleo diet. I was wrong.
The plane eventually started its engines and rolled to the runway. We took off quickly and our ears popped with the pressure changes. Up and up the plane rose through the gray sky until we broke through the low lying clouds. We emerged on top of the clouds and looked down on an endless field of huge, white, cotton ball clouds, full of hills and valleys, glens and dales, all with subtly varying shades of white and gray. (That’s the technical term: cotton ball clouds. You’re welcome.)
Jacob closed his eyes and tried to sleep. The window thief’s expression softened. I got out my pen, eager to write, hoping for inspiration.
The first of our many flights was extremely turbulent and Jacob wasn’t able to sleep quite like he wanted. Every time his eyes opened, I started talking to him. I took his open eyes as an invitation for more conversation. How could I be wrong in that assumption? The woman in the window seat also wasn’t able to sleep, but she gave up the scowl as a look that sour apparently took too much effort.
The waters I ordered for both Jacob and myself, both of which I intended to drink, arrived with the first major wave of turbulence. I had expected bottles of water. We got two open cups. I drank mine as quickly as possible while Jacob juggled his, trying to keep the water in the glass instead of himself through the turbulence. He acted as if the water was going to melt his skin, so I took it from him and started drinking.
The turbulence stopped and Jacob drifted back off to sleep. I went back to my writing until the next round of turbulence and my next opportunity to talk to my wakeful brother.
By the time we landed in Birmingham, Jacob’s eyes were rolling and he was having difficulty focusing on my face, but he said very clearly to me, “I don’t want you to sit next to me on the next flight. You’re too loud.”