Some of you may have put two and two together and realised I have been travelling. It has been a challenging time with major decisions to be made, and I left the land of my birth with a sense of unfinished business and of leaving in a bubble of unreality.
My mind was still trying to cope with what had occurred and what still needed to be done. I was not thinking about the details of travelling until they arose in a series of small frustrations. My hand luggage, instead of sliding gently down the ramp to my waiting hands, shot off in another direction to be searched. No problem there – good security is what everyone wants, after all – but it woke me up to the fact that I needed to concentrate on the now, rather than fret over the ‘what has been’ and the ‘what is still to come’.
All clear and the first flight went smoothly. I had planned to sleep as it was a late night flight arriving at its destination at breakfast time. This was not to be. My eyes felt like dry sand pools by the time I arrived, but my brain would not switch off, and the movies on- flight were a welcome distraction – an escape.
I hauled my hand luggage down from the cubicle above my head – to find it soaking wet. Someone’s water bottle must have leaked at some stage – perhaps not even on our flight as no-one else seemed to have wet luggage. I must have just dumped it in a puddle that nobody knew was there. It was too crowded on the plane to check it out, and I wheeled it into arrivals, my footsteps dragging somewhat with fatigue.
As always this airport was busy. People from all over the world going to exotic destinations. It was perhaps a God-thing that my plane came in at one end of the airport and the next one left at the other end – and they were working on the transport system so it was quite a hike. I had time; I had wheels on my suitcase; and so I sauntered along, feeling more awake with the exercise, through the hustle and bustle. Eventually, I found a seat where I could open up my sodden hand luggage and do some damage control.
Many of the contents were wet. Most of them didn’t matter but I was concerned about the electronic equipment. Having already had my cell phone damaged whilst away, I did not want to lose the rest of my links to the world. I wiped it dry with a damp jersey and switched it on. It all seemed to be okay and I breathed a prayer of thanks.
The second flight, whilst being a daylight one, did not have the power to keep my eyes open and it was a relief to have a couple of hours sleep.
I arrived on time and was met as arranged by my son. How good it was to see him again. We did not linger when we got home. He had a further journey to make. I longed for my bed.
And I slept – deeply, to be woken by bright sunshine on a cold and frosty morning. Ten minutes later my doorbell rang.
‘Welcome home!’ The cheery greeting of my friend was balm to my unsettled soul.
‘I’ve come to take you out for breakfast! There’s nothing in your house to eat and you need some shopping. I’ll fetch you in an hour!’
And so she did. And we talked and laughed and ate as if I had never been away.
Home. Welcome home. Unreal as it may still seem as I settle back, that is where I am.
And I am grateful for the family and friends that make it just that.