Cabin Pressure

My father has a hot pink suitcase. When I don’t fly with him, I think about it. I think about it during descent. Maybe it’s the cabin pressure, the gum chewing, sad babies with their tiny, vulnerable ears. Maybe it’s my inability to relax, the natural stress of the body doing something unusual. My thoughts move towards the carousel.

The carousel at the airport is one of those strange vectors of chaos. People lose all perspective. In that way, it’s like the farthest left lane on a busy highway. People want to get out. There is a lot of entitlement. It's in this space, and at these moments, among dull rectangles snaking monotonously, in the sudden light of a memory replaying this or that terrible luggage-related misfortune from the past, the hot pink suitcase asserts itself.

It’s a hot pink suitcase. It’s either there or it’s not. It doesn’t hide in plain sight. In the parlance of fashion, it’s not slimming. But it’s dependable, and despite seeming ridiculously out of context most of the time, in its moment it’s perfect. My father says excuse me, and wades in. He doesn’t go after it; he lets it return to him. I see people seeing him retrieve it. There are smiles. You can almost hear people telling themselves their next suitcase is going to be loud, changing their minds about what looks smart, and acknowledging how easily and unintentionally we conform. I will probably never own a suitcase like this, but I like to think of my father gathering his bright bag. Especially during descent, when I really need something to think about, I acknowledge the good style of an idea.


Jeffrey Morgan’s writing has appeared in Cutbank, Diagram, Fourteen Hills, and Spinning Jenny. He is the author of Crying Shame, published by Blazevox Books. He has never flown first class.

Category: Airports

Latest Stories
Checking In/Checking Out

Filter by Category

Everyone has a story to tell...

Submit Yours Here

Points of Departure: