Monday, July 15, 2013

Waiting for Britain

My practice from The Write Practice prompt: Write for fifteen minutes about a time of anticipation.

I stand still in the middle of my bedroom, looking at the piles of clothes without really seeing them, feeling a giddy, pleasant, but slightly sickening tremor in my heart. The empty red suitcase lays on my bed, and the embossed letters on a blue passport wink at me in the morning sunlight. I'm going to Britain. It's really happening. The trip of a lifetime--the one I'd been saving for since I was 11--is finally coming. Tomorrow I'll board a plane headed for Manchester, and the green fields of England will be waiting for me.

british_airways where do you want to... by bedharak
british_airways where do you want to..., a photo by bedharak on Flickr.
What will also be waiting for me is customs, that frightening ordeal that I've heard about but never experienced. I picture myself running a savage gauntlet with my luggage in tow, standing in a line three miles long before finally coming to a booth where a woman with a sour face and a strong German accent will interrogate me, stamping a big red "X" across my passport and shouting at me to go back to the States where I belong. Why she has a German accent I have no idea, but it does a good job of scaring the living daylights out of me.

Hairbrush. Toothpaste. Shampoo. Stick to the basics. Don't worry about what will happen on the other side.

I pick up a guidebook to England and flip through it for the thousandth time, relishing every photograph, underlining a few more things, making note of prices. 

T-shirts. Sweater. How many pairs of shoes? 

My mom finds me at the computer--again--making absolutely sure how many ounces of liquid I'm allowed and how big a carry-on case can be.

"Don't worry about it! You've done enough research, just relax."

Yes, relax.

Necklaces. Formal dress. Pajamas.

Rick Steves strikes again. I watch as he walks around the streets of London, animated, enthusiastic, full of energy. I want to be a traveler like that, soaking up the local flavors, digging deep into the mossy crevices and making the most of every moment, no matter how mundane.

Insurance. Debit card. Boarding pass. 

Apparently my stomach wants to join the Cirque du Soleil. Everything is packed, I'm saying goodbye to family, taking my shoes off for security, and my guts are twisting inside out and doing cartwheels.  

Luggage tag. Gate number. Group 2.

Then I see the plane. White, sleek, with a patriotic touch of red and blue. And then I realize that I'm going home, and it's going to be a grand adventure.

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