Federico Nothing confronts me more with the act of dying than traveling by plane. I don’t fear death itself, but it being caused by pilot error. A person who not only flies an aircraft but also my life. I could complain to all Air Forces that don’t allow the crew to get involved in the selection of the personnel that will take us to our destination, but it would be in vain because they apparently do it for us; what if just before taking off, the pilot finds out that his wife cheated on him with his best friend or is a manic-depressive, and I have to go to London with him? The variables are endless and so is my good luck, because so far none of them has contemplated suicide, at least not with me. Those pilots who fly with me must be really eager to surf the turbulence, since my last trip was a mixture of “bachata of pits”, edema of glottis and post-partum. He didn’t turn a hair surfing the fierce winds of the damn current El Niño, because he didn’t even warn us that we were at risk of death. Of course this is a personal conclusion, since no members of the crew bothered a second to take off their sleep masks. Those in row C were snoring in B minor, the flight attendants were telling each other about the last roll in the hay with the newly divorced pilot, and the damn Asians were reading the newspaper as if they were sitting on a lounger in Playa del Carmen. Me? As if I was attached to the electric chair, fading between watery green and apple green, reciting mantras of all religions, asking the gods of the cold South winds to end this hell because I can’t die today; I still have to pay off my credit card which I maxed out for my Christmas shopping and at some point in the future I’ll have to find a boyfriend. I think my family would never forgive me if I die single, and then the damn karma is going to bring me right back to the crime scene so that I can meet someone and repeat this whole nightmare once again. But my guardian angels that know exactly everything about my reincarnations and current accounts, put me face to face with a guy from Brazil just before pre-boarding. Federico. A 32-year-old ash blond who was more to be married on Earth than to be met in Heaven… Or maybe both. I was able to verbalize my inner thoughts and I dared to ask him how long our flight would be; I never intended him to get close to me forever, I was just looking for someone nice and handsome to die with. But Federico had the look of being more single than me and seemed to be a good candidate for me to hold his hand when the plane began to shake like a washing machine. He didn’t stop talking; I would have never forgiven him if he had been in my city, but what other choice did I actually have, stranded in an airport in Mexico going to São Paulo? He talked for about two hours in a row and I let him speak because this thing of being close to death makes me compassionate. He wanted my phone number, I just wanted him to hug me during turbulence. Between his anxiety and mine, we reached an agreement: the first weekend that we returned to the United States -because he lives in Los Angeles-, he would come to visit me. I can’t argue with my “bodyguard of wild winds”, the OK was given and my word, too. We sat apart, it’s clear that fate knows more about me than about my fears of air pockets, but Cecilia, who needs to stretch her 1.2-meter-long legs to be comfortable, resorted to the old trick of the emergency exit. Yes, sure, just a girl like me would leave the plane first in case it fell… Although nobody knew, I settled there. And, as soon as the plane was ready to take off, I started looking for my new friend who just happened to have immersed himself in deep sadness without my company. I put him on my side, pressed up against him; I told him about my most recent fears, and we hugged. Taken by the hand of a complete stranger. Spooning with Brazil and the damn sudden steep drops by the pilot, who must have been having dinner. The steward who stared at us because he didn’t understand anything since the last time he had seen us; Federico was texting and I was eating some M&Ms in the other wing of the airport. He told me that before the plane dropped, he would like to know if he kissed well or not, since we also talked about my list of bad kissers. There wasn’t even one topic left to analyze, he even told me that he was living with his ex-wife who got pregnant by another man and that the son of a third guy lives with them. Too much information for just a single flight. Sometimes it’s better to die than to hear the truth. I brought up sensitive issues and bombarded him with technical questions, such as: Are you divorced from her or do you have to support that child who is not yours? Do you sleep in separate rooms? Who chose the baby’s name? My perplexity was such that I thought I was single for a good reason, because maybe I have neither the tolerance nor the patience that this human being has in much stronger situations than falling off a plane. And I thought that my life was screwed because I didn’t know anything about the life of pilots. We reached our final destination, the plane never fell, and we parted as two lifelong friends. He came to San Francisco and left, I kept my promise, I found out that the baby is three months old, I asked him who gets up to take care of the baby when he cries at 3 in the morning. I don’t know what will happen next time, but I hope life doesn’t challenge me again by sending a man with a son that is not his… Because traveling is not my thing, but neither is raising children.