In the skies above the Heartland, the vows of a Christian marriage are broken aboard an American Airlines flight from Newark. It is known that the aircraft is the great social experiment, that strangers reveal things their spouses and siblings don’t know because of the safe anonymity. It’s easy.
In a Bergen County cul-de-sac, she is watching something on television with the children before they go to sleep. The dishwasher hums in the kitchen, one of the dogs is asleep at the slider. She thinks of him up in the sky, registers the familiar anxiety that comes with each trip he’s taken since that Tuesday morning in September of 2001.
The television flickers relentlessly at her stony face. Literally, her eyes glaze. It is when she blinks them that he crosses her mind, up high in the sky on the American Airlines flight west. He always puts on too much aftershave.
On the flight, his breath is stale, but he doesn’t care.