'Crash Landing' by Peter Raynard
She had seen the film before, on a business trip, and it was worse second time round. He was loving it. For once he almost appeared to have forgotten he was on a plane. Nothing could disturb him. Typical. Generally he was a bad traveller; any sign of bad weather, or a night flight, and his nerves would rebound on his personality. And so it was, grey angry clouds came through on their threat and turbulence came to her rescue. There was a loud bang and the plane began to lose altitude. When the air bags dropped in front of them, her husband gave off a bad smell.
"You alright?" she said.
"Don't be stupid," he threw back at her. “Does it look like it?”
She couldn’t remember the last time she thought he looked alright. The pilot’s finely trained emergency landing voice came over the tannoy. They were to get into the crash position but there was no need to panic.
“No need to panic, who does he think we are?” He bent over, digging his elbows into her leg.
“Move over," she said, "we're not in bed now thank God!"
"Oh shut up. Why do you think I always sleep on my side? Because there's never enough room to lie on my back."
"You snore like a pig when you lie on your back.”
"I knew we shouldn't have gone abroad," he said, "It's all your fault. Why take another flight? You've just got back from wherever and now this. I’m more than happy in a caravan in Devon."
"I thought it would do you good."
“Do me good? What, to die?”
She smiled. The plane jolted as it surfed a cloud. He made the mistake of lifting his head to look out the window. A patchwork countryside could be seen below, rushing toward them. He pushed his head down, hard into his knees. She could see the grey wisps of hair in his ear; lines of sweat streaked his temple. She almost felt sorry for him, but not for the first time was glad they never had children.
As they neared ground, they could feel the plane straighten and then bang down hard on the runway. A rush of noise filled their ears, and the plane slowly came to a halt. The pilot spoke from above again. You could hear the relief in his voice when he told them there was no need for an emergency exit and to please remain in their seat while they taxied.
"Oh thank God. I thought that I was a goner," he said leaning back in his seat. “You alright love?”
She didn’t reply. She was just glad it was all finally over.