The Start of an End II
In Heathrow I ponderously found my way to a Starbucks where I grabbed a muffin, coffee and a large water then overdosed on flu meds confident that they would help me get through the next 8 hours. Luckily I found a nice quiet spot in this busy airport where I drowsed off for a bit.
A coughing spell woke me up. I frantically checked the time and realized I was an hour away from boarding my next flight. So off I went on a mile hike in this enormous airport to find my gate. I looked like death and by all means felt like it too. It would have been now that my panic of being quarantined would intensify to a noticeable level.
Avoiding eye contact at all costs; I checked in with security. Then again at the boarding gate and bizarrely managed to pass both points with absolutely no questions asked. I must not look as bad as I feel I thought to myself…
Sick and once again alone I would find myself at the second boarding gate in this turbulent journey of my life. I hunched over in my seat as the flight began boarding its passengers. Breathing had become incredibly taxing as were other simple things like trying to stay focused. As the lines dwindled, I moved my distressed body out of the seat and slowly boarded the plane that would get me closer to my destination of freedom.
This flight was a light one…
All together I think we were 60 or so passengers. I was allowed to find 4 non-occupied seats in the back of the plane to sleep and that was exactly what I did. I was out for the entire 6 hours and when I woke up the plane had began it’s descent into St. John’s. N.F.
I sat up and smiled. My dry lips hurt from cracking caused by my dehydrated state, but I wasn’t dehydrated enough to ward off the stream of tears from pouring out of my swollen, drooping eyes as the plane touched Canadian ground.
I was physically in very bad shape yet vibrant with my triumph. Little insignificant me had done it, against all odds, and there were too many of those, I had actually done it.
But I wasn’t there just yet.
This was the final 45 minute transit and I had to remain on the plane. Within time we departed from St. John’s to Halifax and landed safely. I exited the plane and made my way to the immigration office where my paper work was quickly analyzed for accuracy and I was granted admission into Halifax.
I collected my luggage which didn’t take long at all, breezed through Canada customs and passed through the large revolving exit doors of the Halifax international airport.
It was windy out…
I stopped for a minute to allow the mighty breeze saturated with freedom to embrace my near annihilated body and senses. I stood on the sidewalk, in disbelief, charged with an incredible sense of lack of fear. I was not covered up from head to toe and I was in public.
You know what the best part about that was? I didn’t feel like I was doing something wrong and I didn’t fear large angry men with beards punishing me for it.
Why have I been denied such a pleasurable feeling all my life?? To feel the wind blow through my hair like this.
But now was not the time to question things. I needed to find a cab and get to my hotel. I needed to rest…to recover and I needed to be somewhere close to a hospital. I got into a cab and asked the driver to take me to the Hotel I had reserved a room in.
As the cab drove and as I lay in the back seat limp, short of breath, colliding with emotions, I was charged by the beautiful scenery of green trees and hills. It was as if I was receiving an infusion of life during this drive.
My eyes had become too used to the image of a dull yellowish brown sandy desert and date trees that a simple maple tree was just fascinating.
My Kleenex box -my friend- was still with me and running low on its supply. I knew I was approaching the recovery process of this anguish. I was alive and though not well, I gladly highly doubted the diagnosis of SARS.
The cab came to a stop after a 40 some minute drive, I paid him, got my suitcases out of the trunk and slowly walked into the beautiful lobby of the downtown Hotel. Once I was in, a front door clerk looked at me and was so taken aback by my appearance that he asked: “Rough trip?” I smiled and answered “Yes.”
I finished all the formalities at the front desk, took my key and went up to my room. There I undressed, indulged in a much needed long hot bath, ordered some room service, and enjoyed the feeling of being a female alone in a hotel room without the shame of not having a male guardian on site.
Such an abnormal feeling to not worry about getting accused of being a whore waiting to get fucked by a man who is not her husband by virtue of being in a downtown hotel room. Here I was, barely a day out of Saudi and already being faced with the shock of culture change.
Eventually after watching some non Islamic or Arabic TV I crashed at around 4 pm. I woke up the next morning at 8 am.
End of part II