I was tracking the flight from the time I got up. She was somewhere over Greenland just getting to the Atlantic Ocean. I was up really early way before the alarm was set to go off. Nervous anticipation set in a worry that usually sets in when someone you care about is traversing through the air in an alloy can and you haven’t seen them in a while. The last few hours and minutes are the hardest. They seem to last the longest agonizing to an extent but I have strategies.
One coffee and a quick shower to freshen up in preparation. It’s going to take about forty five minutes to get to Gatwick from where I spent the night. I ordered a car through the app and they were here in no time flat. I tracked myself as I tracked Chrl flying through the sky. She was somewhere over the Atlantic fast approaching this isle. It was a beautiful morning. Not many clouds obscured the sky allowing sunshine to warm my skin as the car navigated the somewhat deserted motorway. I kept getting messages asking me if I was excited but I played it cool not revealing the extent of my anticipation. I’m reserving that for when she’s finally in my arms.
The flight was a bit behind schedule more time for me to wait anxiously. I wrote of my anticipation and how I felt over the previous few days. This focus on something else helped me chanel these feelings to something more productive. I wished the connection was a bit better. Pictures took a long time to upload. It had to be quick instead I watched the bar slowly track the progress as I watched the progress of the flight. Once it was all uploaded I stood there at the exit watching patiently as people left the controlled area. Each one of the people had this look in their face. It was easy to spot the people who had a longer flight finding themselves all of a sudden confronted by an anxious crowd waiting for their loved ones. People scanned the crowd to see if they could see a familiar face. Sometimes it’s hard to focus when you’re sleep deprived.
The plane landed and I caught it as descended. I was getting some fresh air in anticipation. The flight tracking app was pretty darn accurate and I caught the moment knowing that she is inside there waiting to get off. I figure it’s another twenty to thirty minutes before she is out those exit doors. I’m estimating from my own experiences at this airport waiting to get off. This was the longest wait of them all and as I stood there by the exit doors again I inched closer and closer to the front of the line as others found the loved ones they were after. Each person that came out I looked at intently. Will I recognize her after all this time? I know we have spoken lots over the interwebs but this is real life!
She came out and looked around and missed my smiling face as I quickly took a photo. She walked away and I followed quickly running up as she smiled and we embraced finally after all this time. My heart was beating fast in anticipation. That first kiss and that first embrace made the whole wait worth the warmth of our greeting. She looked radiant even after such a long journey. We embraced for a while letting reality catch up to our emotions. All that biochemistry cascading through our pulsing veins imprinting this moment on our consciousness.
We chatted, hugged and kissed and then held hands as we made our way to the train. Chrl didn’t being as much stuff as I thought she would. It made the next phase of our journey easier. One of the train companies is running a reduced service and this has plagued London. The express train that normally runs didn’t because of no staff being available. The four carriage train that arrived was already full and we aggressively boarded it and became separated. It was a miserable ride for most people but for some reason I was happy as I kept glancing over to see how Chrl was doing. She got stuck by the doors while I inched my way somewhere to the middle. We were like sardines moving along the tracks in this tin can. The daily commute to work must be horrible as many people have voiced their opinion of this situation.
We were in kind of a rush since the plane landed a bit later than I thought and Chrl took a bit longer to get through customs. Fortunately the train that I chose was late enough for us to get there but we had to get there. On top of the train issues one of the Underground lines was closed this weekend for maintenance so we had to pick an alternative one. Good thing there are options. We made it to Euston in time and got some provisions for the train ride to Stafford.
The train ride was smooth. The seats we were allocated didn’t have a good view but fortunately there was on open pair with a much better view. The rolling undulating scenery whizzed by as we made our way towards our next destination. We caught a cab to the flat. There is no need for us to walk through town as Chrl was a bit tired from the flight. She has been up for a long time punctuated by a few naps here and there.
At the flat I had just a few things to pack up. She got to see how I was living the past few months. It’s actually been almost half a year now that I think about it. There was one image that fascinated her. It was taped up above the door to shield the little window above the door to prevent light from coming into the room from the hallway. Looking at it from a distance it is a bit disturbing. We brought everything down to the floor level and waited for the cab to bring us back to the station to go to the next destination. I had booked us a room through an online service.
We had a pleasant ride from the station to the place. The cab driver told us about the charity work he does in northern India educating kids. He says that the only thing that can prevent kids from falling into and becoming radicalized is giving them an opportunity to get educated. Someone has to help them. He says that if we ever want to go on a trip to India and explore that part of the world he would help us. When we got to the place we found that the host wasn’t there. We waited as I tried contacting him. We waited and waited. The one woman that was there working at the bar didn’t know where he was and couldn’t contact him. It became increasingly clear that he wasn’t going to show up. I found a hotel for us to stay in and cancelled the booking. I’m hopeful to get a full refund.
The hotel we were going to is an old building that has been added to over the years. We got in and set our stuff down before collapsing on the bed shattered from all the activity and travel that we have done that today. It was a deep and restful sleep. It’s been a happy day being reunited finally. It seems a bit surreal after weeks and months of monotony but our reunion has been a happy one. Every chance we get we hold hands and hold each other. Our limbs intertwine like pretzels or the county symbol that is prominent throughout this area.
I still have a week of work left to complete. I wish that I didn’t have to work but financially it’s necessary in order for our trip to be a success. Work has been busy. The department is going to be shut down for a week as the building owners inspect the premises and perform any necessary corrective steps to make sure it is running properly. The stress of added work is beginning to show itself on the faces of my colleagues. My mood for some reason has improved greatly. My colleagues have also pointed out that I’m leaving at the end of the week so I won’t have to deal with all the things that will follow after they reopen.
After work Chrl and I go and have dinner somewhere. On the first day we are with one of her old friends. We went and had a lovely meal at a caff adjacent to an upmarket super shop. The food was lovely and the conversation gave me an insight into Chrl’s life when she was much younger. It’s amazing that after all these years they have managed to stay in touch. Chrl still has some schoolwork to finish so while I’m at work she is doing her work. It’s nice to have school that is set up this way. Soon though we will be on our way to begin our adventure 😀.