I can’t sleep. It’s 3:30 a.m. and I’m on a plane somewhere over Utah, or Colorado, heading from the west coast of North America back east. Below me, people are oblivious to the tin can zooming by above them. Some are sleeping. Some are having sex. Some are watching reruns of Cheers between commercials about fixing their credit, or calling party lines so they can simulate sex. They don’t feel the shaking of turbulence as we cross the continental divide. They’re not basking in the soft glow of a computer monitor, with a warm lap.

Next to me an older gentleman in a nice suit flips through the latest edition of Air Mall while tilting his plastic cup back – in hopes of savoring the last succulent drops of Jack on quickly melting rocks. All other lights on the plane are off. It’s as if he is having a contest with me to see who will sleep first. He’ll be sorry, because I can’t. Not on a plane. Not on a bus. Not on a train. I cannot sleep while moving. I’ll sleep tomorrow when my kids will be ready to play because they haven’t seen me in four days. But my wife will guide me into bed and tell the girls to let me rest. As she closes the blinds on a sunny day. 

My row mate keeps glancing over at me. He’s fading. He’s in denial. I laugh at him – evilly, in my mind. My eyes fixed on you like an inside joke he’s not privy to.

He checks his watch. Another glance.

Three hours to go.  

More turbulence.

Jim Mitchem/@jmitchem
Staying Up, Up in the Air
Nissan, "Baby"

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.