Vacation Apocalypse

— Deborah Kennedy

Hammered into my seat on a fourteen-hour flight to Australia, the sticky traces
of my guilt spray out into the troposphere behind the grinding plane. A woman
in a headscarf embroidered with black beaded flowers sits beside me. Beyond,
her daughter chatters, pink toes, curling, translucent petals in the harsh overhead

light. The mother and I chat easily despite breathing air from two different worlds.
We meander through children and travel plans. Then, I say, “Before coming
to Australia, all I heard about was the killer heat wave in Sydney, the raging bush
fires and cyclones flooding Queensland. I was starting to wonder, if I was going on

vacation in the climate change apocalypse?” She smiles faintly and her eyes flicker
toward her daughter’s head now cradled in her lap. “Is anyone doing anything about it?”
I look inside for a glimpse of hope, “Not really, not the scope and scale of change
we need. Many are people trying, but recently a U. S. senator on the congressional

science panel said we don’t need to worry because God promised Noah there wouldn’t
be anymore floods. Some how, this doesn’t pass as a scientific policy point in the
21st century.” She didn’t reply, her headscarf suddenly looms between us and we
both fall silent, only the drone of the plane’s jet engines continue the conversation.

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