Kia ora and good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to Air New Zealand flight 7, San Francisco to Auckland.
Following our safety video, the flight crew will be moving through the cabin
to collect Tuesday, April 21st from all passengers.
It seems an ordinary trash bag, but we’ve had no meal yet,
no trays to return, no pretzel wrappers, no small plastic cups.
And when I find the bag held expectantly before me,
it is full of days.
A birthday for someone who will be 29 for another year (again).
An anniversary, forgotten now (by both parties).
A fatal accident avoided (or delayed).
Recovery from an illness delayed (or lost).
First meetings between strangers who will never become friends (archenemies, soulmates).
Epiphanies (failures) estrangements (reconciliations) chances (changes).
Ordinary, unnoticeable (unforgettable) days.
All these days, these April twenty-firsts that will never be, swirl together,
stringing themselves into entire April lifetimes,
separating again into little April deaths.
And as I watch, I suddenly feel a day
— not older or younger, but simply — lighter.
My breath catches, but the flight attendant moves on,
and only the man behind me (possibly) (doubtfully)
notices which day would have been mine.