The cab was waiting as I ran back into the house for the third time. I had forgotten our passports. I ran upstairs to our bedroom and the passports were on the bed. It was in the same spot I had left them earlier. It was supposed to be the start of a long-planned trip. It was more than three years in the making and I was running late for the easiest part of it. I was usually the early bird, but not today. I was too nervous. Mike was shouting from the cab and I was ignoring him. I was nearly down the stairs when I tripped over one of Amy’s toys and fell flat on my face. As soon as I hit the hardwood floor I could hear the crunch of my nose and the wetness of blood soon followed. Mike was there in a flash and helped me to my feet. He got a wet towel and cleaned my nose. The cabbie was not as patient, he started to hunk.

Mike, not easily intimidated, shouted back at the cabbie. I had not heard Mike curse in a long time, but the expletives came thick and fast. I squeezed his hand to let him know I was fine. The cabbie was shouting back and unloaded our bags and drove off. It was all going badly so fast, it seemed our long-planned Tanzanian vacation was going to be over before it started. I was already disappointed.

Mike collected our things as I cleaned up. I called another cab. The cab arrived before Mike could get all our luggage back into the house. He was annoyed that I had called a cab, but he was happy that I was still up for the trip. I had assessed that my nose was not as bad as it seemed and I was not going to lose thousands of dollars for a bloody nose. The cabbie was efficient and we were packed and on the move quickly. Fortunately for us we always left early for the airport in spite of living within 15 minutes. Traffic was light and we made it to the airport in 14 minutes. We made it through security easily and got to our gate with time to spare. As I took a seat I remembered that I had not taken any allergy medication. It was too late. I would have to get something once we arrived in Tanzania. I did not tell Mike that I had left the allergy medication. I was too embarrassed since I had misplaced so many things already today.

Mike had just gotten comfortable when the boarding announcement was made. We had first class seats and were in our seats with drinks in our hands long before most of the passengers had boarded. The service was wonderful and all I could think of was finding a beach on the Indian Ocean. The rumbling of the aircraft engines made it real. We were going to be in Tanzania soon. We both were looking forward to the beach and the mountain. Kilimanjaro was the goal. We both had always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro and meet because we had mutual friends that knew of our interest in Kilimanjaro. We were starting our dream vacation.

As the plane rolled down the runway I closed my eyes as I always did on takeoff. The rumble of the engines were ever-present and my headphones were not a real barrier. I had my takeoff routine and Mike had his. His was to squeeze my hand. I could feel the acceleration and Mike’s grip became tighter and tighter. As we started the accent there was a loud bang and the plane fell rapidly. It felt as if I was being pulled from my seat. The seat belt held me tightly and then there was a second bang as we crashed into the water. Mike got his seat belt off and was urging me to do the same, but I was in a dream. We had gotten to the beach a lot sooner than I had hoped.

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