The small girl laughed.
The noise bubbling out of her mouth- a jubilant stream of sound.
No more than four or five years old
She traced the life lines on her father's palm.
Folding and unfolding the fingers
Of his hand around her own.
They were sitting next to me on the airplane- seat 14 E and F.
All three of us trusting that the flying contraption would provide a reliable barrier between us
And the thousands of miles that separated the passengers from the scatterings of green, blue,
All three of us trusting that the engines and wings would not fail–could not fail–
To deliver us safely to our destination.
The small girl trusted her father.
I could see it in her eyes:
A trust so explicit it hurt.
She trusted in his love, his kindness, his omnipresence.
Her head burrowed in his lap, she trusted him.
Finding comfort in the hand that tenderly stroked her hair, no matter how messy,
In the arms that provided sanctuary, no matter how obstinate
About not eating the broccoli for dinner.
The plane shook with a small amount of turbulence–my cup spilling crystalline droplets
Of ginger ale on the tray-table.
The girl sat up wide eyed.
Looking to her father for reassurance.
“Shhh. It’s okay. Everything is okay.”
She tentatively sank back into the familiarity of her father’s embrace.
I closed my eyes,
shifting in my cold seat-searching for some semblance of comfort.
I closed my eyes, and tried to sleep.