Emerging Writer Member Profile
I live in Galway with my fear chéile and páistí. Writing is special for me as I enjoy exploring story plots, developing characters and everything in between. Reading with my children and in my job as a teacher has enabled me to use funny voices I never knew I had!!!
The hot sip of tea was so comforting to Jennifer as she was not used to being up so early. The dawn sky was showing silhouettes of buildings that she would normally see in their full glory at least three hours later. This morning however she would be starting her new job as a flight attendant. During her teens she had always dreamed of flying the globe and getting paid to do it. The training for the job was tougher than she expected. Nervous on her first few days of training, when she had to push an airline service trolley through an aircraft. It was heavy, and she had sweat pouring off her as she arrived up at the airline staff, Nick and Dorothy, training her in. “You need to do some weight training, perhaps invest in dumbbells” advised Nick the chief trainer sarcastically. He had over twenty years’ experience working as cabin crew and he was a prime example of a muscle man. Jennifer was an accomplished swimmer but an ironwoman contestant she was not.
Her second day was comical. Nerves again. She had to demonstrate the use of safety and emergency equipment. When showing her mock passengers how to blow up a life jacket, she exhaled excessively and inadvertently blew the life jacket up, up and away, through the aircraft until it ran out of air and landed on top of her head, much to her passengers and fellow trainee’s amusement, Nick was not impressed.
Over the following days, she mastered pushing the trolley with ease but her shaky hands did not pour the coffee directly into the cup. Some landed on the carpet, more landed on Dorothy’s table tray. Dorothy, a compassionate and friendly lady, provided words of encouragement for her, she whispered to her in a soothing voice, “one of my favourite sayings gets me through nervous times, ‘Life is tough darling, but so are you’.” Jennifer’s sallow skin glowed with hope, her broad smile stretched from cheek to cheek and she clasped her necklace, a good luck charm given to her by her parents. She didn’t want to let them down.
The next few weeks showed Jennifer excel in her new job. Her perseverance and confidence grew with each training task. Colleagues remarked on how much she loved her new job, she was perfectly suited to it. The Wednesday before Christmas was Jennifer’s start day. A route to Berlin would be short and as it is the morning flight, it will be passengers on business trips. “They always nap or are engrossed on their laptops” said Nick. “They won’t be bothering us”.
Shortly after 6:00am, Jennifer boarded the plane with Nick, Dorothy and another recruit Geoff. She welcomed the passengers to the plane, took their boarding passes and directed them to their seats. Captain Mark Abraham was at the controls, his co-pilot Stephanie Saunders messaged Nick to close the doors, the flight is ready for pushback and they would be leaving the Jet bridge for their 6:45am slot. Jennifer sat in her jump seat alongside Dorothy. The plane was picking up speed down the runway as Jennifer clasped her necklace, which was under her white aquamarine uniform and abiding by company protocol of no visible jewellery. Ping. Five thousand feet. Ping. Fifteen thousand feet. Jennifer placed her hands on her seatbelt awaiting the ping for eighteen thousand feet, so the seatbelt sign would go off and she would be starting her first shift.
An alarm sounded. Jennifer and Dorothy looked at each other. Smoke was starting to seep through the aircraft from the right engine. All-call. All-call, was heard from the captain. Jennifer and Dorothy responded to their intercoms as they heard Captain Mark’s instructions. There would be an emergency landing. Fire was spreading fast. The plane turned 360 degrees back towards the airport, dumping fuel in the bay below. Jennifer’s intensive training stood to her. She knew she would have to be calm. Passengers embraced the emergency landing position.
The plane was filling up with smoke as oxygen masks dropped down. Visibility was poor as the lights turned on in the aisles. Jennifer kept an eye on the area call panel as requested by Mark. An orange light would mean they may miss the runway and it may overshoot. The light was yellow now. Bump, the aircraft had touched down, bump, Jennifer knew the plane was too fast for stopping safely. Bump. She took a deep breath. The plane gradually reduced its speed. She saw the fence around the runway boundary. The area call panel turned orange. The plane skidded through the fence and through a field into the bay. Thankfully Mark had enough control of it to let it glide into the bay. It was floating on the water for a mere two minutes when the escape slide inflated. Jennifer went first and used her life guard training to assist passengers into rescue boats. She kept her composure and impressed her superiors. She was a true heroine amid a baptism of fire.
I am compiling stories that my late parents told me over the years. Stories that will hopefully have meaning for people, that will offer humour, guidance and inspiration. Phrases that my parents would have used took on a whole new meaning as they became words my children use now, the fantastic gift of writing will continue my children's memory of their Mamó and Grandad.
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