THAT TIME I THOUGHT I WAS GOING AWAY FOR MANSLAUGHTER

  1. The year is 2015.
  2. I am flying back to Chicago from a nice, long winter break. My cheeks are rosy and I have gained four pounds from lying motionless for three weeks.
  3. I sit in the terminal. I am 90 minutes early for boarding because that's the kind of person I am.
  4. I do the following things to pass time:
  5. Eat chicken McNuggets.
  6. Eat a McFlurry.
  7. Take several pictures of Southwest airplanes by the window.
  8. Edit them using 67 different apps.
  9. Deem them unworthy of Instagram.
  10. Delete them.
  11. Take a snap instead.
  12. Wash my hands for fun.
  13. Buy a bottle of Sprite.
  14. The guy comes on the intercom and announces that it's time to start boarding.
  15. I have a good boarding number. I am pumped to sit by the front.
  16. When I step onto the plane, I see that an aisle seat in the very first row is open.
  17. I put my backpack in front of me and sit tight. I am very excited for my extra leg room.
  18. Everybody has boarded.
  19. The flight attendant is standing next to me, beginning her safety precautions.
  20. Suddenly, she turns to me.
  21. "You can't have your backpack here. You need to put it in an overhead bin."
  22. I did not know this. I had been so used to putting my backpack under the seats before me.
  23. There is no space in my row. I go across the aisle.
  24. Seated, three elderly women. Very elderly. Like, super old.
  25. My backpack is heavy. I am struggling to get it to fit.
  26. Because I am at the front of the plane, and because the flight attendant is still giving out instructions directly beside me, everyone on the plane is watching.
  27. The Sprite bottle in the side of my backpack falls out.
  28. It is nearly full.
  29. It hits one of the elderly women in the head.
  30. She goes unconscious.
  31. The entire. plane. sees.
  32. I hear audible gasps.
  33. The flight attendant drops the intercom thing.
  34. The other elderly women start yelling.
  35. I have not moved. I think I am in paralysis.
  36. I begin shrieking.
  37. People in the first few rows begin to unbuckle their seat belts and yell advice.
  38. The old woman is still unconscious.
  39. It has been about five years but actually, maybe, 12 seconds.
  40. I am sobbing.
  41. I have killed someone.
  42. Via Sprite.
  43. I will never graduate from college.
  44. I will never see my friends again.
  45. My parents will be crushed.
  46. I am going to prison for manslaughter.
  47. Everyone is a witness.
  48. The old woman wakes up.
  49. She starts laughing.