She let out an exasperated sigh that rolled itself into that four letter word that she rarely used. Fate meets poor wireless signal meets her own doubts. She had tempted fate too long, it was now less than fourteen days away, and finally the prices had gone up. And now, she had lost that itinerary for the third time before she could hit “purchase.” Was it a sign? An omen? Or perhaps it was as her friend, Lisa, had suggested: “perhaps it’s a test of how badly you need/want to make that journey.” In either case, she was getting tired of this! She stood up, took a look at herself in the mirror, threw a hoody over her wild, overgrown locs, dragged on her orange vest and slid her feet into her slippers. It was going to be a difficult journey but she had to make it to claim some pieces of herself. She wanted these pieces back. She was going. Today’s therapy session had convinced her. She made her way to her office praying no one would catch her dressed like she was.
All summer she had watched the airfares religiously each morning and evening. Sometimes during the day as well when her ADD would kick in and distract her from a cover letter or a paragraph. She was so ecstatic the day they dropped! She was convinced it was a sign. Earlier, her therapist had helped her discern that she needed to honor that feeling of being called home. Later, after therapy, she had run it by her friend, Lisa, almost as if to test it out. She would close out the retirement account. Over the last two years, it had lost and gained so erratically that it wasn’t even worth the money. The ticket would take almost all of the money but she hoped that the fares would drop some more. And they did! That same evening after therapy. She decided that perhaps they would drop again, so she monitored daily, not telling any family members just yet.
She continued to ponder it seriously. Write about it. talk to others about the absurdity of the way this was playing out. Her angst bothered her. As if she knew that this would not be an easy trip. She had done the math. Even with the retirement money, she would have very little spending money and no paychecks since she would not be working during those three weeks. She could not possibly be in this much pain over such a decision, she thought to herself. It was family, she wanted to see them. They wanted to see her, she was sure of that.
Another therapy session. A call to the travel nurse. A trip to the injection clinic. She must be going for sure cos why else would any sane person take five shots in both arms in one day?! Still she had not bought a ticket. She couldn’t see leaving stateside too soon after her summer job ended. She needed a few days break, to be sure. But the end date was not movable because she needed to be back stateside to recover in time for starting her new program. If the speed with which this summer had flown by was any indication those 19 days would go by fast, especially since the travel was a day long. Add cultural re-entry and jet lag and one was looking at about two and a half days wasted on both ends. That left only about 14 days of being fully present. Would these fourteen days be worth all that money? To top it all off, the conversations with her partner about the necessity for this journey had not been very encouraging. She knew she would miss her, but she wished she would understand her need. Or perhaps, just support her without understanding. That would be nice too, she thought.
As she waited for her office computer to boot, she began to feel shaky and congested. She tried to calm her breathing. Was it really this serious? Once the computer was on, she checked email pretending to look for her mileage account number. Then she finally put in the dates. The prices had only gone up $9 but the seats she wanted had all disappeared, leaving middle seats and “preferred seating.” Lord knew she wasn’t about to pay anything above that $9. She got on the phone with an agent to see if she had some wiggle room around the seating options. Not if she didn’t want to pay them to book it for her, they informed her politely. Ok Fine! Now or never.
Why was she not relieved? Why was she seized by this sudden dread. She had made a decision. She had to learn to trust herself more. She printed her itinerary and slowly moved through the motions of shutting down her computer. She panicked. This meant she had twelve days to get all these things done. She began to make lists. She walked home, and began to pack her toilet bag making a list of things she needed to buy. Was that some excitement she felt? Or was it just nerves masquerading again?