diary / by Edward Mullany


From the galley at the back of a plane, during a flight that had been in progress for several hours, so that I knew the aircraft was somewhere above an ocean, although, because night had fallen, and because we’d reached such an altitude that we might also have been above clouds, I knew, as well, that I wouldn’t have been able to see the surface of the waves, had I been looking out one of the windows, which I hadn’t been…yes, from the galley at the back of this plane, in the cabin of which the lighting had been dimmed, so that most of the passengers had fallen asleep, though I had been unable to, and instead had gotten up and had wandered toward the lavatories, though I didn’t at that moment need to use one, so that I was, more or less, just standing there, out of a restlessness or boredom that expressed itself physically…yes, from this galley near the lavatories, where I was standing, I heard a flight attendant telling her colleague, as they sat beside each other, on those metal or foldout seats they could pull down from the wall when there were no tasks for them to do, or to attend to, that she was going to close her eyes a minute, but that she wasn’t going to fall asleep, and that, if she did, her colleague shouldn’t be afraid to nudge her, with an elbow, though at this point her colleague laughed, and said something I didn’t catch, but that the first one must have heard, for it caused her to respond in kind, and for their conversation to continue, so that the two of them were still talking, a few minutes later, when another passenger, an older woman, came shuffling down the aisle and stepped past me, or around me, and poked her head into the galley, and asked, in a polite voice, if it would be possible for her to have a cup of water, to which both attendants said yes, of course, and to which the one who was nearest responded further, as she got up to retrieve a bottle from a fridge, and to uncap it, by asking a question that encouraged the old woman to say more, about her trip and about where she was traveling to, so that a new conversation began, and I was able to listen a while longer.