TITLE: Mother Mona
GENRE: Upmarket Women's Fiction
At LA International Airport, exactly 48 minutes before her flight to Alaska was set to depart, Mona put her leather carry-on bag on the ladies’ room sink and found the four-ounce travel-sized bottle of cheap merlot. As the cleaning lady watched mid-wipe, Mona silently raised the bottle to the little black stuffed dog whose head was peeking out of the carry-on – here’s to … whatever - and drank the entire bottle. Then she opened an outside pocket, retrieved a tiny container of peppermint breath spray, and administered two quick, efficient blasts. Picking up her bag, she tossed the plastic bottle in the trash and took a long, cleansing breath. Then she squared her shoulders and headed toward the line for security.
On the airplane from LA to Alaska, as the pilot announced they’d reached a coasting altitude of 35,000 feet, Mona locked herself in the bathroom, leaned her head against the cool plastic wall, and cried.
When the flight attendant knocked the second time, Mona put her head next to the door and said, “I’m fine.” To the woman in the mirror, pale and shaking, she whispered, “I’m fine.” I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. Then she made her way back to her seat, keeping her eyes on the floor between aisles, her head down, her hand tentatively touching every other seatback for support. Sitting, she pulled her carry-on from underneath the chair in front of her and hugged it to her. Unzipping it, she found the little stuffed dog.