The helicopter of discontent



Normally at this hour blades of sun cut through the gauze of the living room curtains and backlit the veins of the philodendron plant, but not today. A heavy veil of clouds greyed the sky outside. Inside, the apartment was cool, hushed, blue. It seemed as though the sun were just dawning, instead of it being 10:30 in the morning.

She had a vague memory of waking at dawn to the chopping of a helicopter. Rushing to the window, she saw it hovering. It slowly descended until it was level with the hight of the low apartment buildings that bordered the street. Two small lights on its underside twinkled alternately like seed diamonds. Behind her, still in bed, she heard Cayetano move the covers.

“What is it, Julia?”

“There’s a helicopter outside. I wonder what it wants?”

The helicopter was ominous. Its whirring blades skewed the quiet residential street into a dystopian scene, the helicopter a spy of the regime. Julia knew that inside, humans served its predatory bulk, but from her perspective now the machine was beastly and autonomous. It sniffed at the edges of the building, and Julia looked up at its underbelly from below, wondering again what it wanted. What disorder did it sense in her home? What fault could it find with her quiet life, lived sleepily as if beneath a calm pool, or within a bubble, separated invisibly but completely by the chaos and hardship of more difficult lives. Was the helicopter here to pierce her contented inaction?

The two diamonds blinked and the helicopter turned, moving slowly at first but then, nose pointed down to the trail of a new scent, hungrily away. By the time it returned, roaring past like a bloodhound on the trail, Julia was already back in bed, curled against Cayetano, half warm and covered and half cold and exposed, just as she preferred. When she woke up much later to the hushed blue of the morning, the helicopter was nothing but a dream.

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