The 3rd of May 1984 – Karval, Colorado

(found beneath a smoldering pile of the rubble)

Dear Agnes,

Perhaps you will not receive this. It is likely that you will never hear from me again. Perhaps you will see me. I do hope you will.

You will never believe what has happened. It is the craziest thing. It is maddening, what has just happened.

The pilot just said, very quietly and calmly, that we are all going to die.

He didn’t say exactly that, but he might as well have.

He just clicked on his intercom and he said, very quietly and very calmly “Well, folks, unfortunately both of the engines have gone out. We’ll have an unexpected and sudden landing within the next thirty minutes or so.”

Then he clicked off.

That was it. Nobody reacted. Nobody made a move. It was like nothing happened. It was like nobody heard it. It was like he had just announced the time of day and temperature.

Agnes, I know that I’m about to die. I knew that for a long time, well before I even got on this plane, but what is everyone else doing?

What is everyone else doing?

Do they know?

I mean, they’ve just gone back to their books. They’ve got their noses in their newspapers and their magazines. The woman next to me is just filling out a crossword puzzle, calmly and quietly. That’s it. That’s all.

What are they doing?

Agnes, I want to get out of my chair and scream in each and every face. I want to say “You are going to die! Your life will be incomplete and ruined! You are going to die before you want to, and you won’t even be sure of the value of it! You are about to die!”

Maybe they will react. Maybe they will just go back to their newspapers and their books and magazines.

I want to shout at them. Not because there’s something to do about it, but because we all ought to know. We all ought to make sure that we know, otherwise we are just wasting life away. Otherwise we are just being dishonest.

But, Agnes, I certainly don’t want to be the only one who knows and the only one who is terrified. It will be alright, or it will be better at least, if we are all terrified and knowing together.

Goodbye Agnes.




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