Or... The Journey...
I feel that it is important that I document my first journey out of the country alone.
I am alone and I am doing things for myself. Because I can do things for myself. It is easy. EasyJet!
There should be a light on this damn thing telling you when to commence the sucking of the sweet, sponsored by Werthers Original, right up there next to the seatbelt and no smoking lights. (My friend Jules and I have discussed this at great length (2 mins) on a previous flight!)
We are in the air and my nerves are gone. I wonder with one wing pointed towards heaven and the other wing pointed towards hell, why my book remains so still, on my knee, and why it is not resting on the wall to my left only to drop onto another passenger when it straightens up. Why drinks don't spill, yet when there is turbulence they do.
A small lego world. I could probably see my house from here, I look out for a blue Ikea as my nearest landmark. No such luck. I am probably on the wrong side of the plane. There are those offices my dad was telling me about. The ones he did the scaffold for a while back. The ones that have been empty for months.
My dad is skint and I am off to Paris. There is no justice. I offer to give back the money he gives me. The money I feel so guilty about. It is better for me to suffer, not him. He has worked hard. I have done nothing. He won't hear of it. He'd rather be out on the streets begging than see me suffer. I tell him it is a open offer. Whenever he changes his mind. He says I deserve it. I say I don't. I should earn my right to live. My mum has told me in the past that it is better in my pocket than in a slot machine. He doesn't have to prove his love for me. I know he loves me. He already does enough for me. Like running me to the airport. Letting me drive his flash car, even though I can't drive. I really can't. He let me drive it round a car park before we got the the airport. I turn right. Right again. Then another right. I keep forgetting to straighten out. Straighten up he calls. How I call. We drive towards some people. There are people over there. I am going to stop. I say. I have not learnt how to stop. We jerk forwards. Whip lash. He laughs. He let me drive his car. A nice black Audi A5. The Batmobile. KIT. Could have been 30grands worth of damage and he laughs. I will learn to drive this year.
I am not afraid of flying. I always get nervous in the tunnel before you step onto the plane. No one to hold my hand. That makes me feel nervous. But once I am on I am fine. I do not fear death by plane. It would be something that I have no control over. I would just have to except it. A murder. Manslaughter. Condemnation of all man kind. Imagine the whole of the western world on trail! Technology. Techslaughter? It isn't natural. It is man made death. Then again maybe it is natural death. Maybe the plane is natural in the same way that an anthill or a bee hive is natural. Either way. I am not scared. The best I could hope for would be the moment of peace, clarity, and acceptance. Meditating amongst the chaos. Before the pain. A philosophical moment where I come face to face with my maker. Then a quick death. Otherwise I would hope that my legs do not break on impact. I would save all the others, the ones with broken legs. A hero. Both Mythbusters and snopes.com cleared up the conspiracy of the brace position. That old legend that the brace was thought up to kill on impact, snapping the neck on the chair in front. Saving the passengers from a long, slow painful death they would face otherwise. The main problem with airplane crashes is that the impact causes your legs to break. The chair in front is too close, or the chair you are sat on collapses onto the legs. This is all true. I saw it all on mythbusters, the emulated a plane crash and this is what they found.
No plane has crashed due to turbulance. Daniella (my sister) told me that. Her friends are air host/esses and they are all alive.
I am alone. Three seats to myself. I think about the airport. The kid repeatedly crashing his paper are plane to the ground, into other passengers, wondering if this is significant. What goes up must come down. "Brace, Brace!" The woman behind me, listening to David Bowie. Rebel Rebel. Tinny and small through her earphones. I wonder if this too is signifcant. (Here comes one of those things where you reveal a little too much about yourself...) I sometimes, maybe, might take hearing a song by David or Iggy as a sign, typically a reassurance, easing nerves, urging me to loosen up, let go (not so much Lou though his songs maybe a little too dark). Then other little things. For example a game of chance a sort of iPod Roulette, if the next song on my iPod is a David one then I'll (lets say as an example) get my nose pierced today or go out tonight or buy that bottle of gin. Damn it TV on the Radio. Ok one of the next four songs. No, arcade fire. Iggy, fuck it, close enough, let's do it! It is always a little unfair as my iPod tends to be dominated by David. Not much of a game of chance. I should pick someone more obscure like say richard Hell, not even television, Richard Hell. It's silly anyway leaving your decisions, your future, your life to the mercy of the iPod shuffle. Very dumb indeed. Anyway I had made some bad decisions in the past off the back of hearing some David songs (I know I know this is so dumb, it has nothing to do with the songs, its all to do with coincidence and chance and what I actually want to do! I just sometimes need a push.) So at that moment in the airport it was certainly not reassuring. I move away from the woman. I try to guess who is french. A black family, well dressed, smart father at the head, gotta be french. "Look dad, look at the plane!" No, British. An elderly couple, tanned. French. Nope, Spanish. Hmmm. I start looking for the arty ones. Beards, long hair, fashioniatas (this is EasyJet, come on...) I start finding a few. I wonder if anyone thinks that I am french. I could be French. I have a French surname. Why not. I pretend to be French, which is pretty easy when you don't have to speak. I am not French. I do not look French. My passport gives me away.
Carla and Kaliegh. The names of two hostesses. I trust hostesses with names like Carla and Kaliegh. I am reassurred by hostesses with names like Carla and Kaleigh. Especially scouse hostesses with names like Carla and Kaliegh. All flight attendants should be called Carla or Kaliegh.
I land. Happy. I am doing things for myself. I am alone and in Paris. In Paris alone. I catch a train. By myself. I learn a new French word 'sortie'. I traveled to Paris on my own. I am alive I am living. There is Helen.
The train stops. I miss the announcement. Listening to my iPod. It was probably David... I think I could have gotten the gist of the announcement with out understanding the language. Everyone begins to exit. I look to a fellow passenger with a sense of urgency. I don't know what she said but I understood her. The train had been terminated. Now what? Everyone here is French. Everyone. I'll stick to the people with the cases. No earphones. Listen this time. A book instead. The people with cases begin to move around. Like they no something I don't. I am confused, what if there is a platform alteration. I'll never know because I don't speak French! Remain calm. Read. It'll sort itself out. An announcement. Charles de Gaulle. I recognise that part. What else. Listen. Concentrate. You can decyher this. An enigma machine. Come on think. I search my minimal vocab (bonjour, merci, ca va, c'est, je t'aime, un, deux....) no not there. I catch the eye of a woman. I must have looked like a lost child, desperate and hungry. "It will be five minutes, this side." I had never been more grateful to another human being. A tear came to my eye. Of course another train was coming. They are every ten minutes.
In the airport. Terminal 2b, gate 32. We group. It must be human nature. A tribe thing. First to sit. I attract a group of 16-21 year olds. They don't know I'm not 16 - 21. We are the hip kids. Lone travellers. Looke at us, we are young and doing things for ourselves! Then there are a group, late 20's to late 40's, all women. Lone travelers. They too are doing things for themselves. Then the lone men. Business looking. Suits, laptops, facial hair. They are doing things for themselves but no one cares, they are expected to be doing things for themselves. Then the families are scattered. They are their own tribe. They don't need anyone else thank you. But then what's this. More families? A troop of little daemons, horns disguised and hidden under Mickey Mouse ears. Tens, hundreds of them. Screaming, rattling small toys, singing the okey kokey over and over and over and over and over, and singing it wrong! Parents laughing. Ain't it cute they don't know the words. Gurgle gurgle. Of course. It is the easter holidays and every scouser who could afford to has taken their kid to Disney Land, saving as much as they could on the flight (EasyJet!) I can see it now. High pitched squealing, crying, whining as their little delicate ears pop, and they grow confused, angered because they can't make it stop! Deafening, deafening. With no escape. No escape. Let me out I'll get the next plane. I fly British Airways instead!
They should be sedated. A little medicine on their gums. Just for an hour. No fears. No tears. And peace for the rest of us.
But I underestimate the little angels. True I sit at the back with the older families. But the flight is quiet enough. I read without distraction. Turbulence. No plane ever crashed due to turbulance.
Back to Reality
When I got home I expected to find her dead. There was something wrong. The house was too quiet, the air too stale, the atmosphere too still. She promised me in an embrace before I left that she wouldn't, I wasn't too sure. I made her text me everyday that I was away so I knew she was still alive. I couldn't risk it, a day before I left her second attempt at such an atrosity in the space of four weeks. I look around the living room. Paper with writing. A note? No. Just some work. It's too quiet. Her bedroom door isn't just shut. It is too shut. It is mocking me because I can't open it. I ring her. Nothing. It took me a long time, sitting next to the door, trying to look under the door. Her body is lying on the other side of it. Of that I am sure. The door laughs hard. I feel sick. A little shaky. What is waiting for me on the other side of that door. All the possibilities race through my head. Images. Sick images. I think about the consequences (I wasn't expecting a consequence, I was expecting to be dead, she had told the doctor a few days before, I grimace. this is serious.) I'll need to stay calm. Ring an ambulance. Is that who you ring? Ambulance? or is it the police? I need to find out first. Know for sure. I raise my hand to the knob, turn the handle. Push it open. No body. Nothing. I laugh at my stupidity. I hadn't trusted her. But she is fine. She isn't dead. She said she wouldn't and she didn't. And now that she is still alive I know her life will get better. I know it. I tell her about my paranoia. Laughing. She thinks, not laughing. Then, " You know, I never thought about the trauma it would cause to the person that found me. I wouldn't do that to you. Don't worry." But she nearly has done that to me. Twice. She will get better. I want her to get better.