Chapter 1

Written by: Sumanda Maritz

My fear of flying would have disappeared if it wasn’t for the turbulence we hit two hours into the flight.

I deal with the nagging of a little boy in row eight. I can hear him from the moment that I start handing out the in-house flight refreshments. Just the thought of his repeated words fill me with dread. No wonder the mother looks like she could use a holiday in Tahiti without the kids. The little boy is not the only one with her on the plane. Nope, she has two others that demand as much attention as the little boy. Despite his cuteness, he had a tremendously vocal voice.

So I do what any other well trained air hostess would do. I leave the trolley at the first row and attend to him first. I made the simple mistake of offering him sweets. His mother looked me straight in the eye and asked me if I wanted to increase his vocal level more. No sugar for this kid! A packet of peanuts did the job for about 15 minutes. Luckily the mother did have a sense of control. She unpacked three 7 inch tablets and handed it to the kids with earphones. That’s when the miracle happened. For the next hour there wasn’t a peep out of those three.

I get through my whole section before the dreaded announcement is made. “This is your captain speaking. Please note that we will be experiencing some turbulence. Please take your seats and fasten your seatbelts.” My stomach tries to climb out through my throat, causing spasms. My hands pick up a little tremble as I start sweating. Three deep breaths and I feel a little better.

With my seatbelt fastened, I hear that penetrating voice again. “But, mommy I have to go to the toilet!” I can’t hear the mother’s response. “Mommy, I have to go NOW!” The kid isn’t shouting; his voice just seems to cut through the air better than most.

This is the part that I hate. Unbuckling my safe seatbelt, I get up to assist the mom. Of course as I walk over to row eight, the plane shudders and dips alarmingly. I grab hold of the nearest seat in a death clutch. As the flight levels off again, I walk over to the little boy and help him to the toilet and back to his seat.

Seatbelt safely back on, I start to relax again for five seconds. A little voice, extremely similar to the little boy’s manages to be heard even louder than the little boy’s. “Mommy, I have to go too!” And with that I realise that this flight is going to be hell. Of course there is another dip and shudder as I unbuckle again, with the grip of death on each seat as I make my way to the little girl this time.

I find myself praying to not let it go on like this.