Getting To Russia: Leaving Home Pt.1

After three or four months I can’t say it’s a blur, a clouded moving image maybe, but not a blur. It might have been significantly better if I, as a self-proclaimed writer, had penned my doings sooner. But that is never the case as I either find other things to better the procrastinator in me, or write, re-write, write again and discard thousands of words…to better the writer in me, I guess. Nonetheless, here we are finally at the “unveiling” of all my re-writes, many thoughts about how to correctly, and adequately portray my experiences, and the feelings attached to them then and now. Initially, I wanted to follow the advice of my good friend, advisor, and editor, Chelsea. However, as I stand writing this I feel a desire to simply tell you about the instances which stand out in my mind.

My itinerary looked a bit like this:

Antigua –> London (Gatwick – TN)
Oct 11 2015
2140 – 1030 (0750)

London (Heathrow – T5) –> Moscow
Oct 12 2015
2150 – 0340 (0350)

Moscow –> Krasnoyarsk
Oct 13 2015
1010 – 0650 (0440)

As I walked along the long corridor with my mother I inhaled the salty air. It was cold, and crude, and I liked it. I felt like my nation was saying goodbye to me. It felt like the 365 beaches we often boast were waving to me with their silent voices, for I couldn’t hear them. I could only feel the strength of their breath as they wrapped themselves around me, clinging to my skin, as if saying “Don’t forget us. We will not forget you.”

And then I was in another cold: a still, unfeeling, “professional” cold of the airport’s interior with it’s bright, harsh lights which held no personality, and it’s large space which held no voice or emotion of its own. I walked to the counter. I was greeted, and returned it. Then I gave what was asked of me. I was nervous, and cold. I felt alone….I had left the sounds of my home at the door. This port, this transition, from island-sounds to no sound was a quick one. I yearned to be outside in the air with the silent, talking waves, but I dared not tempt myself with such luxuries of being too near to who I’d come to be. I was leaving myself…so I tried to embrace it. I pushed thoughts of never smelling the salty air of my shores to the farthest regions of my mind, as I slid my empty navy blue, passport across the chilly, marble counter, and waited, trying to let everything happen with as little feeling as was possible. And then it was over. I could breath again. I was taking the cold into my lungs, as I moved in this silence as though I was apart of its design.

I saw Tiffaney, and her family standing in what looked to me like the centre of emptiness. They spoke silently, huddled together in a small space. Here they stood out, and yet in the vast building around and above, they were insignificant. Under the bright, hollow lights they were less animated, and so were my family and I. We stood there talking together…about nothing. Tiffaney would be my companion for the next few days. She would inevitably leave me, but our journey together would be a long one, and so we began to connect.

“Do you know what I should put here? I don’t know if I should put our first location or our last.”
“I don’t know either. What is that?”
“Oh. You didn’t get one?”
“No.”
“The lady at the counter told me I would need it.”

I watched her as she ran off. I was anxious. It wasn’t just a small simmer like my feeling at the counter. It was bubbling now, softly, but it was bubbling. She returned with the small, thin square form and asked her aunt. She couldn’t remember. And it bubbled further. I looked around in what to me felt frantic, but to others might have looked simply observatory. I located four uniformed individuals on the floor. Of the four, one odd couple wore similar uniforms. I knew one of them was my target. They continuously moved across the floor as I analyzed the mark that would tell me who it would be. And then I found it, a very obvious difference I managed to miss, the words I needed “…Airport Authority”. I continued to bubble. I almost lost the courage but grabbed it at the last second, when she was almost gone.

“Excuse me.”
“Hi?”
“Do you know what I should put here?”

She knew. She asked where I was going, and told me that I should put my first locations: Antigua and London. We completed our forms. And then we waited. And then, it was time. But I wasn’t ready.

“So you are going to board now?”
“No. I have to wait.”
“What are you waiting for?”
“I don’t have all of my documents for the university.”

It began boiling in that way, that makes an unstable pot vibrate on a stove top. I couldn’t leave without my documents. Where was Mr. Cavehill?

“Did you call him?”
“No. He said he would give them to me here.”
“He said he was coming to the airport?”
“Yes.”
“Do you have his number?”
“Only his office number.”
“You should have his cell. Call him.”

I called. It rang. I called. It rang. I called again. And again, and again. Tiffaney’s aunt called a friend who worked with him. And then they left. And we continued to wait. Tiffaney sat calmly, as she waited for me waiting on him. I was anxious.

Suppose he didn’t come? He would come. Suppose he had forgotten? I had bugged him for the last year and he’d seen me just two days ago. He would not forget. Suppose he got there late? Suppose he got there too late?

“If he’s not here in the next few minutes you should board.”
“And what are you going to do?”
“I have to wait. I can’t do anything without my documents.”

But I considered her words. Maybe I could go and then he would send the documents later. But what would I do without the documents. I would basically be stranded, right? What would be the point of arriving without the documents. And so I resolved to wait even if it became too late. And then he was there.

“What are you doing out here? You should have checked-in already?”
“We were waiting on you.”
“Waiting on me?”
“Yes, for the documents.”
“You should have checked-in. I would have brought them to you.”
After we checked-in?”
Yes. I can go anywhere. You didn’t know?”

I hugged my grandmother, aunt, mom, brother. Then we were off. And up the stairs. And I forgot to look back. I forgot to tell them a final goodbye, with a wave from the last point at which they would see me.

I forgot to burn their goodbye smiles into my memory. And I forgot to give them one last smile, one last wave.

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