FLYING THROUGH POCKETS OF AIR

I am nine years old, flying interstate with my family. It is nearing time to land. The hostess has collected the drained coffee cups on a trolley that blocks my view of the co-pilot. The ‘no smoking’ sign has chimed on. (We are back when children were invited to visit the cockpit and habitually puffing adults lit up in-flight.) I have my lap belt on. Tight. Suddenly my stomach has flipped into the overhead locker and the hostess, clutching my headrest, is swearing. Loudly.
Later my non-smoking parents express outrage over her language.
Understandably.
I’d learned a new swear word.

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