The dreams, they keep me grounded. Fluttering fractals of windswept memories brush against my skull, honey-dipped tongues tickling my cerebellum. Dancing strips of vivid color and imagination cast across my vision, taking me back to our first kiss, the singular jolt of energy surging from his lips to mine. In the vibrant ribbons I see his warm eyes of cinnamon and caramel. His amber scent and the salty air is overwhelming.

Remnants of our future obscure my mind in delicate, glimmering bubbles. They portray a life of sadness and depression, of sickness and death. The aftermath of a fall from great heights, a tragic loss, occupies my conscience. Finding something, anything, to hold on to, I clutch my frenzied soul. Heat rises in my neck and pierces my spinal cord. Static fills my eyes and hot tar turns my gut. Silent screams and dripping blood fill my perception. I am falling.

A nudge breaks me out of my helpless descent. “Wes, you better buckle up. Pilot says to prepare for some turbulence.” But I am too distracted to respond.

A nine-year-old me was sat in row F, casting a cold glare toward my boyfriend and I, his glassy face an untainted reflection of our ruin. I flash a modest smile at my younger counterpart just as the emergency oxygen masks suddenly drop from the plastic compartment.

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