Sitting here listening to The Pixies and remembering the flights back to the UK.
First it’s a flight to Toronto on a Dash 8. A Dash 8 Is like a bus with propellors. It rumbles and rocks. It doesn’t get too high so I can see Lake Erie as we fly over. All is going well apart from the girl sitting next to me being airsick. Ha. I am immune to that. Never get airsick and this flight is fairly smooth.
I miss my babe and remember her sad face as I drifted through the departures. Yea the usual laptop out belt and shoes off. At least I didn’t get the explosives residue test this time.
And so I am 20,000 feet above Ohio and Canada. I sneak a Jim Beam into my Air Canada Ginger Ale and enjoy the flight. This is nothing compared to the 7 hour ordeal to come.
We land safely in Toronto and I join the usual Canada immigration queue. I love Canada. They don’t give a fuck. My passport is stamped and I wander down to the baggage carousel. The Delta Airlines guy back in Columbus told me that I would have to pick up my bags and re-book them in for the UK flight.
I wait….and I wait. Soon I am the only person left as the carousel winds around sans my luggage. Kouchons. Where the hell is it?
I wander over to a bored looking Air Canada guy. “Where the fuck are me bags?” I ask beseechingly. It appears that Delta Airlines don’t have a bloody clue. My luggage is automatically sent on to my London flight. But I am not worried as they also for the first time didn’t charge me for my second case….Yipee.
And now I have 5 hours to waste in Toronto. First stop is Starbucks who accept my USA issued card. Brilliant. I have coffee and I head out front for a much needed cigarette.
Toronto airport is cool. I can smoke between flights. It is sunny and hot. Love it but soon the nerves get to me again as I sit in the terminal building. Man I even consider cancelling my flight and trying to find a ship back. Time for more Valium.
I pop one and make my way through to departures. No more fags. I hit the bar and down a few Molsons. Nice beer but at 6 dollars a glass?….Whew? My fear gradually recedes and I make my way to the Duty Free. FFS. I buy nothing. Too bloody expensive. I can buy booze cheaper back in the UK and fags.
Soon my flight is called. And so I find my own private nightmare in a squashed up seat. I am pleasantly mellowed by booze and drugs as the engines spool up. Soon we are airborne and I have a remarkably boring flight. I like boring. Terrified is what I hate. I do manage to slip quite a few Jim Beams down as we fly. It helps.
I try to sleep a little but I can’t. Too bloody uncomfortable but time passes fast and we land at 06:30am UK time. I praise the gods for a smooth landing and I am back in the UK.
The usual. Grab a bus to Cambridge then a cab and home by lunchtime. On the way I look out at a sad England. I feel so divorced from it now. Everything seems so small. The cars, the roads and in paticular the minds.
Back in the UK the big news is Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World’s phone hacking scandal.
I laugh. Everyone is shocked at the involvement of the British Police. Does no one ever learn? The British police are bent. They always have been and always will be. I watch my poor countries sad towns flash past and try to stay awake.
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Here we go. Time to return to the UK and I am devastated. I have to leave Ohio and my babe to board the first flight back to England.
My nerves are shot on that sunny July morning at Columbus Airport. Oh it hasn’t been too bad as I have been helping Raven move from the apartment for the last week. It helps to keep my mind from the imminent flight.
After carrying various boxes and items down two flights of steps in 90 degree heat I suppose I am pretty knackered and feeling every day of my 57 years. OK I am cream crackered but I don’t care.
Our last two nights were spent in La Quinta hotels in Columbus. The first, on our last Wednesday was in Dublin and I enjoy the atmosphere of the hotel as usual. Most hotels are pretty souless places…unless you smoke. You get a pretty fascinating view of people as you enjoy that last smoke of the night outside at midnight and I beach up besides some southern guys who are drinking beers and putting the world to rights on that hot summer night. Fascinating but I am shattered and just enjoy listening to the conversation in the humid night. I do actually have a conversation the next morning with them. 9am and they are still drinking beer. I tell them I have popped out for a fag and one of them gets a bit arsey. Thinks I’ve called his friend a faggot. But we all end up as good friends as we agree that Andrew Jackson was the last GOOD American President.
Our last Thursday and we are back to the now furnitureless apartment to clean up. More climbing up and down the stairs and cleaning. I stand out on the empty balcony and smoke as I bid a silent goobye to our home of the past 18 months. Appropriately enough our sparrow family have all fledged and the nestbox is now empty.
I really try hard to hide my sadness but soon the time comes. The last closing of the front door to our lives for a while. We give the keys in to the office and we are away. The car is laden down. mostly with my shit. Two full sized suitcases that it has taken me a week to get down to weights that I can actually carry without calling for a fork lift and a mortgage to pay the excess baggage fees. It has of course meant leaving stuff behind which to me is heartbreaking as every item has it’s own memory. I even have to dump my snow boots. Too bulky….sigh.
And we are away to the La Quinta in Reynoldsburg. Looks good on the map. Only 10 minutes to the airport but Raven tells me it is in a bad neighbouhood…Hmmm.
Looks OK when we arrive. It even has a pool but the immediate area has that generally run down kind of look. But we hitch the Nissan up outside reception after we unload. Raven is a bit worried but I assure her that with the vacuum cleaner/buckets etc on view inside the car we will pass as just cleaners and we enter the room that is our last home together for at least a few months.
The room is OK. We have a fridge that accomodates our ample booze supplies on this hot sultry Ohio night. We look for somewhere to eat and we hit O’Charley’s. I can’t remember what I ate. I am too busy trying to imprint the moment on my mind. My babes smile. I live for it… But I do notice that we do seem to be unique in this place with our whiteness. Who cares. It is packed and I enjoy a couple of beers before we return to the OK CORALL.
Night has fallen and we chill out on the queen size bed with a couple of G&T’s. I must admit that I swallowed a Valium as my always present fear of my forthcoming flight raises it’s ugly head again.
Outside as usual the show goes on as I take my last cigarette. It is still in the 80’s as I watch the nightlife. Some black dudes arrive. The grandpa must be 90 if he’s a day and the family wonder how they are going to get him upstairs as the hotel doesn’t have lifts. I commiserate. Some girl comes out and bums a light for her dog end. She takes off her shoes and runs off singing…hmmm Americans….lol.
But morning comes. First Valium, second coffee then shower. I am bloody terrified. I load the car. 8am and it is still about 80 degrees as we leave for our final trip to the airport. I find my hand stroking my Raven’s leg as usual as we drive but this time I try to remember every touch. Every second…. but before long we are in departures..
What do we do? I hate goodbyes, even temporary ones. This woman that I have spent so much time with. This woman I love is apart from me because my bloody visa ran out. I rage inside at the unfairness of it all but ‘c’est la vie’ what can I do.