‘Thanks so much Felix, don’t wait, we’ll be fine from here’ she said to her soon to be ex brother in law as they pulled into Treviso Airport.
They walked into chaos, hundreds of people crowded into the tiny Treviso Departures ‘what’s going on’ she asked the furiously frazzled businessman standing at the end of the queue she’d joined. ‘There are no planes going anywhere’ he ranted ‘There’s been bomb scares on planes, something to do with bottled water! It’s just utter confusion!’ She looked around at the angry, buzzing crowd and her mind went into overdrive ‘I have to get home’ she thought ‘what to do, what to do?’ She grabbed the bags and the kids and headed for the taxi rank ‘Venice Airport’ she told the driver. The arrived twenty minutes later and headed straight to the ticket desk, her hesitant query of ‘are there any flights to the UK’ receiving the expected ‘sorry, no’. She noticed a flight to Paris showing on the board and felt the lightbulb ding above her head as she thought ‘Eurostar!’ feeling a glimmer of hope, she asked ‘Can you get us on that flight to Paris?’ ‘Yes, we have three seats available, the cost will be one thousand euro’. ‘Shit’ she thought, ‘a thousand euro for flights and then the Eurostar, how am I going to do this?’ She opened her purse and fingered the ’emergency’ credit card her dad had given her, ‘this definitely classes as an emergency’ she thought ‘now to convince this girl to let me use it!’ She didn’t know if it was the desperation in her eyes or the pleading looks from her pretty children but her luck was in and the girl put her hesitation aside and let her use the card. Four hours later they were on the Metro, heading for Gare du Nord and train tickets home. Once again they were greeted with endless queues ‘seems all the Brits had the same idea’ she grumbled to the kids ‘well, we’ve got this far, let’s wait it out and get on a train’. They waited for what seemed an eternity and eventually got to a ticket booth, ‘three tickets for any time today please’ she said ‘I’m very sorry Madame but we have no tickets for today, the earliest train you can get is at 3pm tomorrow’ he blushed as he continued ‘this is on fold down seats and the price will be the same as for the regular seats’. She raised her eyebrows, as much of a protest as she could muster at this point and handed over a bundle of her dwindling cash ‘let’s go find a hotel’ she said to the kids. They walked across to the Hotel Terminus Nord and couldn’t believe their luck as the receptionist sold them the last available room, she did a mental fist pump as she gave the couple behind her an apologetic look. ‘We did it!’ she screeched as they fell on their beds, convulsed with exhausted laughter and relief.
She woke early the next morning, unable to keep the smile from her face as she reflected on the craziness of the last twenty four hours. She thought about how she had sat back for the last fifteen years and let Drago handle all of their travelling, allowing him to convince her that she was too scatty to organise pretty much anything and ultimately destroying any faith she had in herself. She called Theo, at university in Canterbury, and arranged for her to collect them from Ashford, they could all go home together. The kids woke up and they continued their mini adventure, indulging her sons fascination with the Da Vinci Code, they set off for the Louvre. Their Eurostar experience wasn’t the most relaxed, fold down seats not being too comfortable but she convinced the kids it was all part of the adventure, as she shifted her aching bottom every ten minutes. They trudged out to the car park at Ashford and there was Theo in her beat up little Peugot, stuffed to the brim with Hippies and guitars ‘you don’t mind if Simon and Gabe join us do you mum?’ her eldest daughter chirped.
She took a deep breath as they squeezed themselves and their bags into the car, she wanted to scream but she had a lot of making up to do with Theo and she knew that this would be the first of many tests.
As she drifted off to the gentle guitar strumming from the Living Room, she felt her body releasing the last four years of tension and loneliness, the journey home had filled her with a sense of her own power and she felt a renewed confidence, she was looking forward to tomorrow…