• Karim Gamil

Flight

He closed his table as he heard the engines close to him. Humming so loudly that they could only blend in the background noise. He only realized how loud they were after he looked out the window and saw them. He wondered what else was hiding in plain sight. To his right an empty seat. As a matter of fact, the whole plane was empty. He paused and asked himself if there had been no passengers during the whole flight or if they had simply disappeared. Again, he looked out the window. Violet lights reflected off the wing and hit his eye. He was always amazed how light could avoid all impediments in its way and strike his eyes with great precision. He looked up and saw that the seat belt sign was still on. Seeing as there was no one to catch him in the act, he hesitantly opened his seatbelt and stood up. He checked again. All the empty seats aligned up perfectly forming a tapestry of horizontal and vertical lines. He always wondered if the lines were there or if he had drawn them there. That didn't matter anymore since they were nowhere to be seen a second later. Instead, he now only saw the lines between the seats. They were no longer perfect, but rather took on the shape of a tree with all its roots intertwined. And so, if he had failed to see all the roots connecting the seats in their totality, the constant shifting of his vision resulted in the illusion of their perpetual movement. It was as if they were making their way through the paths without ever attaining distance. All in all, it was more like a circus of glowing lights and nothing like the rigid coordinate system he saw before. After a while, he could no longer resist. He knew exactly what would happen but there was no way of stopping it. It seemed like this feeling would accompany him all his life. A pitch-black curtain slowly encompassed his vision until he could finally see no more. His eyelids hit each other like waves crashing on the shore. At the moment of their ebb, when the tide was withdrawn back into the ocean, a strict silence suspended all of being until nothing was discernible. Suddenly, after he had forgotten that he ever was, when he was settled into indefiniteness, his eyelids sprung back up. The light had concluded its journey and struck the shutter of his eyes. As suspected, only empty plane seats to be seen, no sign of there having ever been any light or life. He was sure it was not a dream; he did not remember where he came from or where he was going, but he knew, with complete certainty, what his eyes presented him was not illusory. At least, not to the point of fiction. He glimpsed again at the window, the violet lights still reflecting off the left wings of the plane. He went and spotted the ocean blue lights reflecting off the right wings on the other side. He had made a habit out of not asking questions. He felt that he could never make sense of things this way. Strangely enough, it seemed like all questions ever did was engender nonsense or a sense of senselessness. He did not wonder if they were the same thing. Although he did not ask, he did wonder about the violet lights to the left and the blue ones to the right. He did not wonder whether it was an illusion, but rather what kind of illusion it was. He decided to experiment, but he did not like calling it that. He preferred to think of it as playing a game with no rules. Anything was possible if he could keep himself from imposing his geometry on the surface of his perception. Even thinking of it in these terms seemed pedantic to him. And so, he positioned himself in exact distance from both windows making sure to align himself to the endless rows of empty chairs that had just opened before him. Whenever he had to describe it, since people usually did not take no for an answer, he would compare it to a mirror. Although he hated putting it in that terms. Just because mirrors tend to confuse their spectator if one is placed in the exact distance to them does not mean that anything one fails to label precisely was like a mirror. He felt that this corridor was more like a mirror in the way it produced a new point of reference for his horizon and not because it was simply comparable to infinitude. As he turned his eyes to the left, he watched all the blue disappear from the plane. Not just the reflection by the right wing but all the seats, the napkins, the glowing GPS lights, even the shades of blue in the grey armrests, which he would usually not refer to as blue, seemed to be leaking out of his vision and dissolving the contours of their objects with them. He did not experience this as a loss since all points which had been emptied of their blueness were beginning to be molded by the violet light rays taking their place. They glided on the surface of the objects they formed until the seats, the napkins, the GPS lights, and the grey armrests were saturated with a multiplicity of violet. He thought about how absurd it was that he would usually refer to all of them as 'violet'. After he had calibrated his horizontal sense of space, he carried on tilting his head to the right. He fixated all his vision on the single point of withdrawal at the end, or rather, the center of the corridor. It felt like he understood how gears felt in a machine. He, however, inevitably failed in doing so with precision. He tried to let his instinct guide his movement but had no such luck. Instead of fixating his vision, he ended up mashing the colors he had gathered in the previous phase with the contours of the objects. The edges of the seat no longer corresponded with their blue color, but rather extended into empty space. It wasn’t anything he couldn’t account for, but it was noticeable. He tried to put the colors back into their geometric forms, but after realizing the futility of his attempts, he decided to let it go and conclude his exercise. After his eyes had once again opened, he found himself back at the seat he woke up in the first time. Assuming that it could be referred to as 'waking up' and that had only ever been the 'first time'. He decided not to stay hung up on the details. All that mattered was that he was once again in a flying vehicle thousands of miles in the air, with no visible life in the perimeter. Instead of asking himself how the plane could remain afloat in the clouds with no pilot, he decided to take a trip to the cockpit. He was glad this decision had only befallen him this time and not when the cockpit was at the end of an infinite corridor.