Kat Russo turned west, leveled the wings and gave a final tweak to the trim before settling back in the left seat of the single-engine Piper Cherokee. It was a bit of a gutless wonder, she thought, but then she was only being paid to deliver it, not love it. And actually, she had to admit, it was a good trainer. Slow. Stable. A good airplane for its new owner, a guy in Winnipeg who had hired her to deliver it from where it was hangared in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The “guy” was a friend of her brother; a brand new private pilot with less than 100 hours in his log book. Yeah, she knew her brother was doing her a favour when he suggested his friend hire her to ferry the plane. She was grateful; she needed the money. More, she needed the reminder that she was capable of functioning in the real world again.
She’d been living with her big brother and his family in Winnipeg since she’d been decorated for bravery and then mustered out of the Canadian Forces a year ago. The brass said the back injury she’d sustained in Afghanistan had left her unfit for duty, but she knew it was really because of the PTSD she’d been diagnosed with. It wasn’t easy, living in her brother and sister-in-law’s basement suite in the West End, trying to pretend everything was hunky dory when what she really wanted to do was scream at her little nieces’ thumping footsteps on the ceiling above her room. At night she would lie on her bed and listen to the voices of her brother, Mario, and his wife Cecily rising and falling in soft rhythm above her. It lulled and infuriated her in turns. She knew they were concerned for her, and she hated it. She hated being a burden to them. She hated their solicitude, their kindness and their watchfulness. Most of all she hated herself for hating them.