Noun. The possibility of suffering harm or injury; peril; risk.
At night, I dream of flying alone. A 747 departing from Seattle, my seat in the back half of the plane, referred to as section D. While still parked at the gate, several men storm the aircraft and take us hostage, holding shiny, black machine guns large enough to require the strength of both hands. Their faces and voices are indistinct, no stereotypical accents or ethnicities. There is nothing to assume or profile. They are just adult men with weapons, and a plan to make us suffer.
Demands are made to allow for take off, and when they are met, our captors inform us the plane is rigged to split apart upon our ascent. They do not explain why. We are simply, calmly, quietly told that it is coming, and before we can scream, cry, run, revolt, or freeze, it does. The gutted groaning of metal, a paparazzi of natural light, the wailing sighs of wind, a skip, a bounce, a final thud. My section of fuselage lands on the shoreline of a body of water. A lake, perhaps, or the ocean, though there is no trace of salt in the air. We are not yet fully submerged, but surely I am already dead as I stumble backwards on the sand, away from all the burning debris.
Then I see my own face still among the wreckage, leaning against an oval window that remains intact. My head is covered in a scarf, my skin shadowed in soot. My eyes jolt open. My external body races back and rips apart the fuselage, pulling the broken me out of the plane, administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Airway, breathing, circulation. Two breaths. 30 compressions. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
This should not be a one person job.
My injured self finally takes a breath, then starts to bleed.
But I am alive. And I can save myself when I crash.