Thursday, August 04, 2005

I suppose those of you who follow the news might have heard sometime today, or even last night, about the plane crash in Toronto, Air France A340, a crash where 309 people walked away before the flames engulfed the plane. I can hardly believe it myself. Still, I'm a little shaken up. Yesterday, Dacnar left Toronto to go back to Paris, and while his was an outgoing flight, and thus I knew almost immediately after I heard the story that he was in no danger, these kinds of things are not what you want to hear the day your husband flies out.

The CBC has quite extensive coverage of the disaster details.

But, as you're about to find out, I found out about the accident several hours after it happened, which, if you can put yourself in my shoes, made it all the more horrifying.

August 2nd, 9:30 am
I woke up with him beside me. It was his last morning in Toronto with me, the first time he's visited. It had been a very emotional trip. He saw most of the places where I grew up, met most of my close friends and, most importantly, finally met my parents for the first time. I was sad to see him go, not because we were parting, and it won't be a long separation, but because there's something special about the fact he finally got to see my where I grew up, and understand a little bit about the world I came from.

Eating breakfast, I tried to stay pleasant and perky while everything is becoming brittle inside.

11:30 am
We, my mother, Dacnar and myself, pack into the car to go to the airport. His flight leaves at 2pm.

12 pm
Get to the airport, and help Dacnar check in. Spend another hour walking around airport with him, where we eventually make our way to the giant glass walls facing the tarmac. There are very dark skies on the horizon.

12:40 pm
He is waiting with me at the pick-up spot, for my mother's car. It's under a long metallic cover. The clouds are black on the horizon. Then, not far off, is a large and very direct lightning flash. I mention something about it being bad to wait underneath metal. He says that it will be a terrible flight, lots of shaking. "I probably gonna shit in my pants."

My mother shows up, and I kiss him goodbye, fighting off tears.

around 1 pm
We are on the highway. The large droplets that had fallen on our way out of the airport have transformed into a monsoon-like sheet of rain. There's hardly any visibility and my mother slows to 50km on the highway. Terrible strips of lightning tear through the sky, barely visible through the rain.

2-6 pm
Am inside Robart's Library, University of Toronto's pride and joy, one of the largest libraries in North America. Hunting down information on Robert Morris's process-based technique, and finding some quotes in Marinetti's Teatro e invenzione futurista, am suddenly hit with strange pang of fear and sadness. Becoming progressively more depressed. The older I am, the less I bear separations well.

7 pm
Numbed, I make my way to Annie's where she greets me by telling me about the Air France crash. This is the first news I've had on the crash all day. At first she's light, until I tell her Dacnar was leaving today.

But really, was too shocked to be emotional. I verify that it was Air France and that it was an incoming flight. Those things checked off, this accident had nothing to do with him. Plus, the accident took place at 4pm. His flight was supposed to take off at 2pm.

After 10 minutes calming down with a wine spritzer and a cigarette, almost cry when talking to Annie about Dacnar leaving.

7:15 pm
Call my mom to ask if there are any messages... if he called. No. My parents sound relaxed.
Friends come over for dinner.

8pm to midnight
Have dinner and drinks with old friends, which proves to be distracting.

August 3rd, midnight

Wake up with horrible aching feeling in heart and terrible wine taste in mouth. It takes another two hours before I can fall asleep again.

Wake up and go to work.

3 pm
Receive email from Dacnar explaining his ordeal. It is his letter that starts to make my brain work.

My goodness! There had been a plane crash in a terrible storm. He could have been affected, if his plane hadn't been delayed, eventually grounded, because of the inclement weather. He could have skidded off the runway, been hit by lightning... all sorts of horrible things... It could have been him! And in fact, while most of the time I'm not plagued with it, fear of flying is really quite normal. So many things can go wrong, and, usually when something goes wrong, everybody dies.

5:30 pm
On the way home, buy newspaper. It's there that I read the full details of the ordeal, the miraculous survival of all crew and passengers, the dramatic turn of events, the dramatic pictures themselves.

6:10 pm
Finally cry.


Dacnar's email this afternoon:

Sweet Sammie,

At last, I'm at home now.

I had a long long day.

My first flight to Montreal was cancelled twice. Once at 2PM, once at
4PM. It was raining so strongly they said that travellers would better
go back home.
A woman changed my ticket for a flight direct to Paris around 7:15PM
Canadian time.
We went by bus to the International board under massive storm.
Over there, Italians were waiting to board for 3 hours.

At this moment, I heard about the crash of Air France plane.

I finally took off around 2 AM, still Canadian time.

Over Montreal, storm and lightning flashes striked back, and that was
really shaky inside. Fortunately, after one drink of red wine, and
another of white, that didn't move anymore.

I landed around 3PM, french time.
Just arrived in Paris, I discovered that the crash (a little one,
actually) was in front of every paper. For everybody here now, I am a
"Miraculé de Toronto".

Kiss you a lot. See you very soon.