25 November …and we’re off
We leave H in Grannie’s capable hands. Sitting two giant bunnies in H’s armchair, I tell her that they will be Mummy and Daddy until we come back. [Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry]
I have arranged to meet a client for a quick 20 minute meeting in the airport lounge. This serves as a great distraction.
In the lounge after the meeting, in an attempt to keep my crazy scared thoughts from taking over, I think about things I have done in the past that make me smile.
1983 – Eating greasy cheese cakes with my grandparents on a park, in the sunshine in Malta. The cheese cakes were a local snack of warm cheese wrapped in warm flaky pastry. I was only three but I can remember how delicious they were. I loved my grandparents to bits.
1984 – Swimming in the sunshine with my aunties, my cousins and my Mum at a schwimmbad in Germany, whilst my Dad and my uncles had a play with my Uncle’s new wind surfer. Lots of people that I loved all together in the sunshine.
August 1992 – Eating breakfast with Little Sis on a warm August morning before school. She crawled up to my chair, pulled herself up so that her face was level with my knees and she smiled at me. She took a piece of toast from my plate, which was resting on my knees and started to suck the butter from it.
1998 – Curled up in a big comfy chair in a Starbucks in New York, reading a book and sipping hot caramel apple cider, thinking “I did it; I made it to NYC on my own” (with two friends but no one over the age of 20). I didn’t have anywhere to go or anything to do, other than enjoy the moment. I stopped every few chapters to watch people. My friend Candace sat opposite me with coffee and a book. Natalie sat close with a magazine. Niall and Graham, two guys we had met on our travels sat close wearing earphones. We weren’t too far from Times Square, it was getting dark; it was magic.
1998 – Stood on a warm, dark beach in Wildwood, New Jersey, on 4 July, 1998 with Candace and Natalie amongst a mass of people eagerly awaiting the fireworks. The fireworks were breath-taking.
2001 – Eating strawberries and drinking champagne on the lawns of Keele Hall after my graduation ceremony with my parents, my grandparents and Little Sis.
November 2003 – Drinking hot chocolate with Candace on the balcony of our new flat on moving in day. It was snowing and we had laced the hot chocolate with amaretto.
November 2013 – Holding H as I fed her, in our rocking chair, listening to Robbie Williams sing “Snowblind” from his album “Swing Both Ways”…
…Hubby: “You alright?”
M: “Fantastic” (argh!)
Hubby: “You hungry?”
M: “Yep” (argh – nothing too acidic, nothing too bulky, nothing with a high fat content)
I physically shake as I board the plane. [Get a grip!! You are carrying enough medication to last a month. You can do it, you can do it, you can do it]
Hubby: “You OK?”
M: “Yep” (ARGH!!!)
[You can do it, you can do it].
We have been upgraded. We can’t quite believe our luck.
I take out my antibacterial wipes and clean every surface that we may touch ignoring the concerned looks from strangers.
We are each handed a glass of champagne. [Sod it] I drink it… fast. The attendant hands me a second one on her way back and smiles at me.
I can feel my shoulders relax, exhaling slowly. Hubby hands me my iPod from his inside jacket pocket. “Here, listen to Barbra“. “Fabulous, thank you” [for being here, for coming with me, for holding my hand and for not telling me I’m crazy]
We wait on the plane for ninety minutes before we take off. I hear a very young child screaming at the back of the plane for a long time. Apparently the child has a sickness bug and is too ill to travel so the delay is the result of the whole family leaving the plane and the staff locating and removing their bags. [Don’t panic, stay on the plane]
I antibacterial every surface again, take my nebuliser and watch a film. Poor baby.
As we take off I flick through the pictures of H on my phone.
We land and I’m still breathing. I am still in control of my cough. There has been no hint of disaster or threat of terrorism.
We made it to Houston.