Jumpseat Stories

Lorraine tells me she was once hit in the heart by lightning and pronounced dead. Another time, she was abducted by aliens. She shows me tiny punctures on both wrists.

“It was just like in the movies,” she says. “The bright lights. That big saucer.” From one hand she sips a Diet Coke; the other hand is poised as if holding a cigarette.

We have just completed the second beverage service on our flight from Denver to Miami, and we’re sitting on the jumpseat talking, our shoulders touching. I’ve never worked with Lorraine before. There are more than three thousand flight attendants in my Dallas base, and I rarely fly with the same people twice.

“I have no idea how long I was gone,” she says, sliding red acrylic nails through her frosted hair. “Probably five years, since space-time is different from ours.”

I don’t widen my eyes or raise my brows. And I smile at all the right times. At each lull, I ask, “Then what happened?”

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