Monday, July 7, 2014

Never going home

Three flights on one journey will create misunderstandings.

I travel from Umea, in Northern Sweden, to Dublin.

My first flight is delayed landing at Stockholm. There is a long internal walk from arrival. My 100 minutes between flights begin to wither.

Eating french fries at a café I discover I have two minutes to check in, a kilometre away, through crowds.

Chips loosed in my pocket, I eat fistfuls. I gallop.
Through security. No time to re-trouser my belt.
I run with the wide leather belt swinging in one hand.
People step aside. I eat fries on the hoof.

The nearest gate is 21. Final check in time is past.

I am hailed on the public address. "Would Brendan Nolan please contact gate 33"

I want to shout I am trying to do that; but I am finishing my fast food.

Gate 33. All boarded.

An older stewardess calls my name at me?

Yes, it is I. Fame.

I sit, strap, breathe, fly. Nobody cheers, alas.

In Copenhagen, I transfer to my third plane for a two-hour flight. Onboard, I doze. I walk to the toilet. 

I wash my wrists in the tiny restroom. I splash my eyes and face with water.
I press a button on the towel dispenser.
Fists bang on the door.

Stewardess; "Are you alright? You pressed the alarm."

I invite her in to explain.

I hold her wrist to steady this slim Scandinavian who flies through the air every day, unaided by me.

She smiles into my eyes and says I was just seeking her company in that room.

I feel dizzy: perhaps I ate the chips too quickly.

We walk the aisle teasing one another, my face still damp.

Strapped men look at me with murder in their eyes.

I may never go home.

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