My autopilot is failing me. It has been running steadily for almost a year, and I think the overuse is starting to burn out my system’s functioning. I can feel it—the ground is approaching. I can’t see it, but I know it’s there. All the other passengers are aware of it now too. I can hear their concerned whispers. This flight had a destination, but it was cancelled, mid-air, two months ago. The plane is still in motion. Without a plan. Just an autopilot button that isn’t reliable and a pilot who is lost.
It doesn’t matter if I press it gingerly with a single finger, or in frustration with the bottom of my fist. You are still here inside of me. I am supposed to want you out, but I don’t. I was okay with moving you from the co-pilot seat into the back of the plane. I want you to stay where you are, safety belt in place. I long to come back to where you are. I need to confirm I haven’t forgotten all the angles of your face. I can’t yet, though—autopilot won’t engage. If autopilot doesn’t work, can we land safely in the end?
I hit the button again; it works this time. After un-belting myself, I travel to the back of the plane to sit next to you. We talk of the things we will do and how we can find the answers, that you could come back to the co-pilot seat and we could finally land the plane together. I tell you I am afraid, and you tell me you are too. I tell you I need to land the plane by myself; I need to know I can do it on my own.
I am due back to the cockpit, the button is faltering. I enter, close the door, sit back in my familiar seat, hold the wheel, and let out a long-held breath. I want to be back in the seat next to you. I am not ready for you to be back in the seat next to me.
And now here we are; my autopilot is failing.