Upon arriving at Dublin airport, I really was the first passenger to leave the plane, just as I had hoped. Mum followed suit, taking a deep breath of the Irish airport-air. I took her by the hand and pulled her over to the busses.
“How are we going to get wherever we’re going, anyway?”, I asked mum when we were waiting for our luggage about half an hour later. I had tried to fit my crumpled up newspaper into my backpack with the result that there was a lot of crumply paper sticking out at the top. I slumped down onto a metal bench and dumped the backpack next to me.
“Someone’s going to pick us up.”, mum said, checking her phone with an anxious look. “At least I think so.” I rolled my eyes. I shouldn’t have let mum organize this trip all alone. But my interests had been of a different sort before the holidays. I didn’t even know which part of Ireland we were going to.
“Can you keep watch on my bag for a moment?” I nodded and mum, her eyes still flickering nervously, let it fall into my lap before walking away to the conveyor that was carrying the first bags around and around. That was one thing I hadn’t been able to manipulate so I was glad I didn’t have a waiting-phobia as well.
I leaned back in my seat, resting my head against the cool concrete wall. The whole room was busing with excitement. The closer I listened, the more everything turned into an orchestra of airport sounds. The conveyors formed the foundation with their low dependable rumbling. Above that were the suitcases being dumped on them from outside the building. Rumble, rumble, crash, crash. I could feel the reoccurring rhythm. Then there was the sound of hundreds of feet scraping the stone floor and the hum of voices forming an ever-changing solo. I kept my eyes closed, but my feet began to twitch with the rhythm of my airport orchestra. I let my toes explore the floor in front of me, shivering as the cold of the floor trickled through my flimsy shoes. My feet were about to stand on tiptoe, I was about to let them do it, when a sharp pain coming from my left ankle made me wince. I pressed my lips together and took a deep breath. Don’t ask to much of yourself. It’s going to come back.
“Got them!” Mum had appeared in front of me, dragging two suitcases behind her. I recognized my scratched gray one.
I was glad to leave the hall with the conveyors. With the pain in my ankle as a reminder to be careful, the orchestra had lost its charm. I handed my passport to the woman behind the grayish counter without really seeing her. Then I followed mum out of the airport into the afternoon sun. As a good daughter and curious tourist I should have been craning my neck for a first view of the country I had just entered, but I was too preoccupied with the sharp stabs of pain in my ankle to observe my surroundings. Leaning on the handle on my suitcase, I tried to walk normally. I didn’t want mum to notice anything. We stopped just next to the sliding airport doors. Mum checked her phone again, grimaced and gazed sheepishly at the drive winding along next to the airport. Cars, busses and taxi cabs were stopping here and there, but none of them seemed to want to pick us up.
I sat down on my suitcase, massaging my ankle. Mum looked around, saw my pained expression and crouched down in front of me.
“Are you ok?” Her voice was low and worried. Great, just what I wanted. “Is your ankle hurting again? I’ll look for the bandages if you need them.”
I shook my head and smiled at her. “I’m fine. My ankle… just seized up a bit.”, I lied. I wasn’t going to tell her what I’d done. “I was a little tense during the flight.”
I put my arms around mum’s neck and gave her a hug, resting my cheek against hers.
Mum beamed. “Oh, Mathilde, we are going to have such a wonderful time.” If you’ve had any doubt so far as to whether French is the language of love, you’ve never heard mum talking. I nodded vigorously at her enthusiasm. “Sure! It’s gonna be great. But, mum, where are we going?” Mum chuckled, but the moment she opened her mouth to answer, someone just behind her said: “Excuse me, are you the Rangottières?”

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