Pigs will fly before I board a plane again. It’s not that I’m anxious, it’s that - even before the pandemic - long-distance travel no longer felt worth the effort.
Diana, the narrator of my debut novel, Sugar and Snails, wasn’t afraid of being airborne either. So why did I send her on a Fear of Flying course? Because, while not averse to flying in a literal sense, she was grounded by inhibition. Fear of intimacy, fear of sex, fear of revealing her true self. When she wouldn’t fly out to Cairo to visit Simon, her friends assumed she was phobic, and clubbed together to pay for her cure.
The registration desk is closing when I show the clerk my booking reference. After scanning my phone, she scans me. “You didn’t bring a pet?”
Hours searching for Marmaduke had made me late. “My cat had other plans.”
“No problem. You can pick one from the menagerie outside.”
I try to decline but she insists the treatment won’t work without an emotional support animal. I follow the direction of her thumb. The dogs, cats and hamsters are all taken. No way can I cuddle a rat. I board the plane with a piglet. Hoping pork can assuage my fears.