Friday 13 November 2020

Experimental writing 1: A missed connection


It had always been the colours. Everything about this place had enriched her vision; it wasn’t just the the blue of the sky or green of the woodlands. It was also the clarity of thought which the open sea offered. She trod water and against the turquoise depths, looked down at the new jewels on her finger. The glittering wedding ring of emerald green and sapphire blue seemed to be part of the water, part of her. She moved suddenly, twisting and diving, a perfect physical expression of the pure joy she felt. She was finally at peace with all facets of her life for once. It seems miracles do happen.


She was excited about the thought of spending a couple of months staying with her best friend. When you meet your soul mate time apart doesn’t seem to count, so even though it had only been eight short weeks since she had been on Sark with Vicky, she was looking forward to more time on the island with her. She had enjoyed the time there earlier in the year and a germ of an idea was forming about a move to the Channel Islands. She just needed to be certain it was right. 

After several years abroad, she had certainly not given up on the idea of remaining in Dalmatia but there were European events to consider; who knows if she would be able to stay indefinitely, even if it was now her only home. She considered getting her own little clifftop stone cottage and join the friendly, slightly crazy community of people on that isolated rock. She could do lonely and windswept, and, she mused, it would be nice to be reunited with her books too. Whatever the outcome it was better than being back in London, or some other place in the UK. 

The UK in 2019 was an unwelcoming and unfamiliar place. She often had to return there for work purposes and despite the intensity of her job and the consuming nature of interesting conversations with like minded people, it was no longer her spiritual home;  that busy world had faded from her mind and she no longer suffered pangs when a new exhibition opened. FOMO had FO. She only missed certain friends, and she often thought of her family. Meeting with her brother in Brighton whilst she had been at a conference had been a real treat. There is nothing like a hug from a family member to make you feel warm and loved. Anyway, all she knew was that the first time she sailed out of Poole towards Guernsey, she didn’t look back, but faced forward, leaving exhaustion and hangover work conference fumes behind her. 


"Wake up, wake up”, screamed an alarm clock at 5.30am.

It was an early start on this particular two day voyage. Getting from Split to Sark was a logistical nightmare and involved a change in Germany, an overnight stay in an overpriced Guernsey Airbnb so she could get the first ferry out to Sark. Typically she hadn’t checked the calendar properly when she’d booked the flights and she had managed to include a bank holiday weekend which meant everyone was going to the Channel Islands at the same time as she was. Or so it felt. 

A sleepy lift to the airport and a hug from a friend sent her on her way. She was soon regretting her decision to arrive early as she waited and waited for the gate to open. As it happens the flight was delayed leaving and  she experienced a fleeting unease about her connection in Stuttgart. She dismissed it remembering how she’d managed to catch every other connecting flight during those awkward off-season trips. She was determined not to feel anxious, what could possibly go wrong?

Thirty minutes into the short flight, through her headphones, she heard her name being announced over the tannoy. What on earth was going on?

“Excuse me, I understand you have a connecting flight? Would you come to the front of the cabin?”, the flight attendant explained. "You will get off first and must run through the terminal because you have no time to lose. We will ask them to hold the flight for you and you will be fine but you must not stop and have a beer.”

Having a beer wasn’t really her first thought when she had a tight connection to make. Although she oddly felt in need of a stiff drink now - full anxiety mode had kicked in. She sat there, green-faced, clutching her handbag, poised and ready to fly off the plane as soon as it was ready. 

It was inevitable. She had finally met her airport match and her travel luck had run out, along with the once-a-week flight to the Channel Islands. Clearly they hadn’t received the message that someone else was joining them from another flight. She wandered miserably back through the terminal towards baggage reclaim, where she waited ages for her bag to appear. Frankly she was just relieved that it hadn’t decided to take the flight without her! She had no idea what to do next, so went to have a conversation with a brisk but kindly lady at the airport information desk. She was offered another ticket which promised a 15 minute run through Birmingham International airport, and an over-night in Jersey. Another Airbnb at stupidly inflated prices, IF she made that midlands-channel island connection. 

“Seriously? You want me to get on a flight with another tight connection, after missing this one?” The patient woman looked sympathetic. Close to tears, Clare made an instant decision and begged for a flight back home to Split and was efficiently provided with a ticket for the next day and hotel vouchers. Slightly dazed and unthinking, she checked in and entered a smart hotel bedroom. Hot, dishevelled and tears starting to fall, she sat on the bed. Vicky was given the story and both of them decided this was the best thing to do, despite the obvious sadness. There would be other opportunities. 

There wasn’t much else to do but get changed and get something to eat and drink. The wine waiter decided that she was in need of cheering up and instead of the glass she’d ordered, he brought the entire bottle. 

It was an uneventful journey home and the same friend that dropped her off, picked her up at the airport. The Dalmatian “what can you do" shrug was contagious, and the warm hugging weather did it’s best to cheer her up. How sad can you stay when the sun and light gives you such a welcome home? With this in her mind, she decided to book a proper tourist boat trip for her bank holiday treat for the coming Monday. What better way of contemplating the future is there than bowling along on the waves of the Adriatic?

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