|Atlantic clouds, kindly lent to me by Martin Brummell|
Do islands exude pheromones, I wondered. The island's runway is right by the ocean, so hello and goodbye are always a heady combination of marine notes with sub-tropical flowery, sweet, woody undertones. It is the smell I always longed for when I was away, a comforting smell, and until yesterday, the smell of home.
No tears, no farewells. Instead, yesterday was dedicated to sporadic airborne napping, mind-twisting reading and industrial consumption of overpriced bottled water.
The first flight was curiously oinky. The lady next to me made porcine sounds at very regular intervals throughout the journey, the kind of which I had only associated with Islandish men before. It was a sinus-clearing-minus-tissue kind of sound, followed by a mucus-swallowing gulp. Rooomph-oink, rooomph-oink, gulp, and so on. Meanwhile, and only a few rows behind us, a small identity-challenged child thought it was a piglet and squealed randomly.
The second flight involved sitting a tightly packed filthy microwave with wings. Purple splodges all around – and on – the window next to me indicated that I was sitting where a blueberry yoghurt-based life form had exploded before. Plus it was so hot in the cabin that almost everyone on the flight fell asleep a few minutes after take-off, under the spell of an air con nozzle that was as effective as a hairdryer on full power.
As I exited the aircraft, I came across a uniformed lady with an anxious frown welcoming everyone with an unusual greeting. "Supersize Island?", she kept asking as people walked right past her without a second glance. When I smiled and said yes, she beamed with relief at having located the one passenger with a connecting flight. Because I had a long-ish layover, it turned out she had been sent to tell me I had the option of going out, breathing actual air and going though customs again.
She made my day, as did sitting in the cool, crisp and foggy air for half an hour, jumbo cup of decaf in hand.
The third flight was a first row seat to a stunning sunset followed by a great big hug from my favorite person, a short ride to the seaside, a cute dollhouse flat with rooftop and sea views plus a good night's sleep in a bed no body part stuck out of, untroubled by rogue mattress springs or vivid dreams for the first time in a very, very, very long time.
Today feels like the first page of a new blank notebook.