'The idea of an aeroplane' by Morgan Nichols

It's day 12 of no alcohol. Not that alcohol was such a big problem in the first place. But more this: the idea of an aeroplane. Walking in autumnal Stanmer Park, looking up to see the trails of white streaking blue sky. He knows that inside, it will be stuffy, with plastic food, but still something about it pulls at him. He imagines going forwards to Thailand with its spices and space, or backwards to South Africa, strangely comforting with its barren air of possibility.

Every time he hears that distant thrum of a plane's engine, he looks up and is temporarily gone. It doesn't matter if he is walking on green mulched earth and birdsong is caressing his ears with fresh sound. It doesn't matter if she is walking beside him, with their hands clasped or held loosely, or if the russet-gold leaves are crunching decisively under each step. Even though he may feel as vast as the remembered sky, and know he is alive, and here, and real, still the idea of an aeroplane can turn his head away.


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