Don’t do it!
The words rung in Kate’s mind, as she stowed her single bag and coat in the overhead compartment on the plane. Well, too late now, she had gone and done it. Done what Susan had feared. Booked a flight. Despite Susan trying to talk her out of the decision she knew she had taken the minute her friend had said the words.
Kate had gone into work early Thursday and had surfed a few of the major Airline carriers trying to book a flight for Friday afternoon. With, she hoped, a return either Monday or the latest, Tuesday morning.
Who would have thought she’d have such difficulty getting one lone seat out of London to New York. She would have taken baggage space in the hold if it had been available.
As it was, her first trip was a lunchtime trip to one of the many local travel agents on the high street. To get what she wanted Kate flexed her plastic to its breaking limit.
Having booked for early Saturday morning, Kate also paid the extra to have an open-ended ticket for the return journey. Something she knew was in and of itself a dangerous act. There were no guarantees a seat would be available when she wanted it, but this again, was another risk she was willing to take. Whatever the consequences, she’d told herself.
She had to conclude, when packing her bag late Friday, that she was indeed off her meds.
Crazy or not, risk taker or not, Kate waited for the first leg of her journey to begin. She was on a Dutch KLM airlines flight sat at Heathrow heading for Amsterdam. From there she would have to take a flight out to the Jersey-side of the river, landing at Newark, Liberty. Then bus it into Manhattan. It was a trip she’d done before so she felt confident.
Kate clutched a small black Moleskine notebook. She let a page fall open to reveal a paper clipping. The ad. She touched it and smiled. Was it a possible new beginning? That’s what she hoped for. She’d been running what seemed like her whole life, running in every direction looking for something. Had she stood still long enough, there in New York, maybe, just maybe she might have found what she was looking for. Tomorrow she would have her answer, one way or the other. That thought took her breath away.
In awe at her own audacity, Kate closed the notebook and slipped it into the pocket of her cargo pants. Till tomorrow then and her birthday.
Time seem to pass in increments.
The plane got airborne, then peanuts and drinks arrived. They landed. She waited. Waited for the cycle to repeat itself. There was entertainment: a double feature. While some chose the movie option to pass the inevitable hours of boredom cooped up in what amounted to a large flying cigar tube. Others plugged into laptops or tuned into their iPods. Kate chose sleep. It also helped to have popped a couple of pills beforehand. As circumstances and luck would have it, Kate woke just in time to enjoy some turbulence followed by a bumpy landing in Jersey.
The people sat either side of her didn’t seem too pleased. Nor, in fact, impressed. Especially when she threw up into a flimsy paper sac. It was quite possible she was the only passenger to avail herself of this particular convenience.
Feeling dishevelled and not a little humiliated, Kate was last off the plane. She followed her own little routine by heading for the nearest toilets to brush her teeth. Something she liked to do before facing Customs. She didn’t want to stand in line unkempt and with a mouth that tasted like puke. And then, have to convince the Customs guy she wasn’t a convicted criminal. That she wasn’t hell bent on coming into the country to beat everyone to death with a two-month old toothbrush.
Two hours later, Kate sat in the back of the taxi. And, finally on Manhattan soil, heading for the Village and the B & B she’d booked just moments earlier. Her head swam and not just from the riggers of the long journey. So many unsettling feelings, so many emotions, fought for her attention; she tried to block them out. Tried to find that tiny quiet place amid the turmoil.
There were only two things she wanted at that moment, and those were a shower and sleep. She didn’t dare think about what she was doing. Another good reason to pop a couple of pills and sleep the flight away. Less time to fret at what she was doing, less time to ponder her crazy actions and what she was going to say to Susan when she got back.
When she got back?
No. Don’t go there. She took a couple of deep breaths and watched the world pass by, peering out through the taxi’s window. It was a blur of familiar buildings and strangers.
Tomorrow was going to be a stressful day for any number of reasons. It was too late to berate her self now; she was here, back in New York. The one place she had always felt was home.
She waved and mouthed: ‘Hi, Honey, I’m home.’