Feb. 23, 2022, quickly jotted down on my notebook:
Everything takes on a whole new meaning after two years and three months.
The airport coffee, though shockingly bitter, becomes a sweet reminder that you are, in fact, waiting for a flight. The check-in counters are not just another hurdle to go through but are gates that will open up to a world that has been closed for over two years. Your sister’s luggage–filled to the brim at 20.4 kg because she has forgotten how to pack light–goes ahead, making its way through the conveyor belt, tentative, like you.
On the plane, the flight attendants whose svelte figures used to mock your cookie-filled… uhm, cuteness, are now wrapped in blue PPE, looking no different from health workers. They are there to take care of you, after all, which is a comforting thought in the middle of a pandemic.
“Are we in the clouds? It’s so white!” the kid in front of you asks as she fidgets endlessly in her seat. She talks non-stop to her very patient mom, but you are not annoyed. You smile and hand her a pack of M&Ms, which she shares with her sister. You’re just happy to be in the company of other humans, bound for the same place.
Less than an hour later, the pilot announces that you are in your final approach. The plane tilts and gently drops. You shove everything into your little backpack: phone, book, water, snacks, courage.
This is it, you are traveling again.