We all installed WhatsApp to assure we stayed connected in case Facebook, Skype, G-mail and phone services failed. We were waiting for the baby dispersed in pairs hundreds and thousands miles apart. Tal called to let me know that Yeela was in labor, asking if we should let Imma know. Yeela was two weeks early, and Imma would be leaving for the airport in a few hours. I thought it would better to wait, who knew how long it would take, but Imma smelled a rat when Yeela didn’t answer her phone. They spoke a lot those days. Imma worked around the radio silence by contacting Elad – the only honest man in the chain – who spilled the beans. I have never met a person so honest. Imma multi-tasked her way through the check-in and security, switching between her iPad and her iPhone, the checking attendants and TSA personal. Imma checked on the cervical dilation.
“How many centimeters?”
“Boarding rows fifty and higher.”
Imma shuffled by a couple to her window seat, letting everyone around her know that her daughter was having a baby.
“The cabin door is now closed, please make sure your…”
Imma switched off only her iPad as the stewardess moved along. The Israeli couple sitting next to her wanted in on the scoop and promised to sound the alarm when a flight attendant was coming up or down the aisle. The plane turned on to the taxiway and stopped.
“We are cleared for takeoff after the plane ahead of us; please make sure all electronic devices are turned off.”
Imma crouched lower in her seat; the couple next to her was perched like worried owls looking at the surrounding passengers, concerned about a passenger across the aisle that kept shaking his head angrily. Imma looked through the window. She could see the plane on the runway beginning its take off. “The head is out” Imma informed her bodyguards. “Keep listening,” they replied, determined to see the delivery through. The plane moved forward and turned on to the runway. The FAA required two minutes between planes. Sixty seconds between contractions.
The plane’s engines roared, the baby cried, “Maxal-Tov’s” sounded from all around, quite a few people were following. Imma turned off her phone, bribed the would-be snitch across the aisle with a chocolate bar to keep his mouth shut, asked her minutemen to stand down, and fell asleep, dreaming how we would have our newly extended family over for Passover.