We lurch again and this time the screams are real panic, not roller-coaster excitement. At least they are from some of the passengers on the 737; the mad girl on my right is shouting "do it again!". I try to keep my breathing even and my mind busy.
Buddham saranam gacchami
Dhammam saranam gacchami
I hesitate; I've forgotten the words. It's been too long since I needed them. Instead I focus on breathing. If you fight your fears and win, you're stronger, but if you lose, they're stronger, and flying into Chek Lap Kok airport earlier this year broke my ability to tolerate turbulence.
I could be home now, in the new flat that still has the just-moved-in neatness, cuddling up to the love of my life as we celebrate nine years together. I could have a beer in one hand, chocolate in the other, the heating on and something brainless and funny on TV. Perhaps tomorrow I'd go for a walk to the organic cafe, read the paper for a couple of hours.
Instead, even if I survive the landing, I have to survive America. It might be interesting, but it will certainly be hard work, work that didn't have to be done. I tell people that I enjoy it, but up here, I'm not so sure.
After three years, dozens of trips, do I enjoy this? I don't know.
I still don't fucking know.