It’s the first time I will have ever been away for so long, considering my usual is a day trip to Tunisia: four weeks is mammoth and I’m looking forward to it so much. To find out where life forks, which path to take next? I’m secretly hoping somehow something will happen to fate me to remain on the continent… and I haven’t even begun to land yet.
I pack in anticipation for the worst: 5 bottles of jungle fever mosquito repellant, two first aid kits (one mini one normal), three face tan lotions, two giant factor 30s, binoculars, torch and replacement battery supplies equivalent to a decades worth of solar power. Plus clothes to last two weeks… my rucksack is an alien force larger than me at 85l worth of content: equivalent to 20 kilo.
I wrestle with the grey version of ET – seriously – I’m on the floor on all fours in my hallway trying to get it on my back while the taxi is outside waiting impatiently. After about fifteen minutes I manage to morph into a tortoise and sway over in a stoop of near drunkeness. I’m really thinking I should be taking a suitcase but what’s done is done, it’s time to leave. And so the journey to Heathrow begins.
I speak to my best friend the entire way, the taxi driver must think I’m so rude as I’m not holding conversation with him but I won’t be speaking to her for an entire month. Now. I know I’m not twelve, it’s the principle. I was so busy with ET I forgot to bring a coat. Real clever. But I realise this too late and cuddle tighter into my deep v-neck cardigan since it’s now my only protection.
Dark. Cold. Wet. Red glowing lights. Traffic. It’s a motorway. Not much more I can really relate to you about that. The closer we’re approaching the airport though, the more crazy my insides were becoming. Is this real? Is it happening? Am I actually going to South Africa for a month? How on earth did I manage to plan this, and how is the universe actually allowing something positive to occur in my actual life?
In the (eight months) since my mother passed, it’s been a long haul stress episode, each day a cliff hanger as to whether today was the day my brain was going to explode, or not. It’s been horrible. Death is emotion on another level. Cruel. Fateless abandonment, it pulls everything apart like a loose yarn, leaving a mountain of unconnected mess. Even though it’s a single path. My heart bleeds internally with tears, broken in a thousand different ways during the course of the last few months, I see Africa as my saving grace.
The taxi drops me off not too far from the large automatic glazed foors, I grab a trolley and load it with ET and my leather man bag from River Island. Men things are better than women things right, well that’s my thinking anyway. I navigate through to check-in, it’s beautifully quiet. Night time flights are the best to avoid the crowds of people. The Emirates desk lady is so lovely too, her bright red lips smile at me as she asks me where I’m headed to after Dubai. She does her processing, no drama and ET is factory belted into the short distance. I hope he finds his way home.