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.