On a flight from New York to Los Angeles, during decent, you look out the window and notice the city is nowhere to be found.

“First time flying dear?”

The vibrations of the engines had been lulling me into a gentle sleep, but I’d woken disorientated. Something was wrong and obviously my internal worries had been enough to alarm the older lady who’d been sitting beside me. The old English lady I’d got talking to as we took off was looking at me with maternal eyes.

“It’s probably nothing.”

“That’s what my husband said,” she began, pulling out a tattered sepia photo from her purse. “Poor thing, working in the collieries for so many years. I always said, John, you’ve got to tell the men, no mask, no mines.”

She put the photo back into her purse, nestled amongst children and grand-children. How many times had I flown this journey? Sunday red-eye to the office, four nights in a drab and dreary hotel where the closest thing to companionship was a bellhop who always mispronounced my name, and then a flight that raced the terminator back west.

And somewhere along the way, it had gone wrong. I’d always thought it was ten years ago. Career. Job. Purpose. All of it meaningless bullshit. Now something had gone wrong.

“There are no lights.”

The old woman stopped talking, a tale about her first grandson and one war or another. She leaned over me, peered out of the window, leant back, put her glasses on and repeated the procedure. Only when she was certain it wasn’t her eyesight at fault did she return my gaze.

“My, that brings back memories.”


“The Blitz. No lights. Not even a tobacco flame was allowed. Now let me tell you, John did not like that much, not at all. A man has a right to his pipe and no Gerry is going to take that away from me, that’s what he used to say.”

“But we’re not at war.”

“Oh son, don’t be so naive. The war was inevitable.”

Prompt originally posted by barmijo1 on reddit and received 2 upvotes.

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