I was in the middle of a downward facing dog when Leo said: The flight is canceled! I tried to exhale calmly even though my heart started to turn in my chest. It took me some time to fully realize what is going on. I felt trapped in a nightmare. Someone has to be kidding with me. And it wasn’t funny.
“Mommy, only three days left and we’ll be on Gozo!” exclaimed Lejla enthusiastically while looking on a calendar. She was changing the red frame around dates the whole September. Today I finished everything I had to get done concerning our company.
Last day in a nursery! Lejla and Erik are receiving farewells, and they are glowing with excitement. With Leo we throw the last brunch with coworkers. The only thing left for today is painting the apartment.
I manage to find a dress for the wedding. I cannot wait! Lejla got a beautiful dress made by her granny and Erik will have white summer shirt just like his dad. We’ll finally get a chance to show our newly accomplish dancing skills. Lejla is working on her choreography :)
It is here! Hardly expected day has arrived! We are leaving Slovenia for an unpredictable period. I have to wake kids up at 3 a.m. Erik’s passed out — I am shaking him without result. “Darlings, we are going to Gozo! Up, up, up! The plane is waiting!” Lejla is fired from the bed like a rocket. “We’ll swim in the sea today! And I will jump from that high jump! And I will dance at the wedding! In my beautiful dress!!!” she started squealing with joy. They were dressed in no time and of we go!
We were planning to buy some Burek on our way to the train station, but we were too late for that. Go-opti had driven us to Venice. Erik now and then asked if we are there yet. We weren’t until 6 a.m. Everything went smoothly. We went through security. Again machines detected some explosive on me. Really? Every time! They checked my hands and my bag. My bikinis weren’t wrapped around any explosive thingy, so we were allowed to proceed. You know how it goes on airports: you wait a lot. People were waiting in line, looking the Ryanair airplane through the gates when they announced that the flight is delayed. So we did some drawing, arranging stickers, I even did some yoga. I was in the middle of a downward facing dog when Leo said: The flight is canceled! I tried to exhale calmly even though my heart started to turn in my chest. It took me some time to fully realize what is going on. I felt trapped in a nightmare. Someone has to be kidding with me. And it wasn’t funny. They send us to the first floor where we started the whole procedure four hours ago.
Imagine two administrative workers and the entire plane of passengers standing in line to find a solution. Leo went to stand in a queue, and I put some cartoons on a computer for kids to watch. After two hours I glanced how Leo is doing: he was still in the same spot. The line didn’t reduce. He looked like a tiger in a cage. His whole body was shaking from nervousness. His look was dark, and it seemed he’ll soon explode. He is not used to waiting. He is a man of action. He is searching for solutions not waiting for them. I saw him browsing on his phone. I was looking as well: what to do?! I checked trains, other flights, rent-a-cars, ships. Everything was expensive — too expensive for all of us! We got to get to Gozo somehow. We got wedding to catch. We were looking forward to seeing Cris and Lucy on that special day. I was still hoping we will find some transfer flight. Maybe we will fly to some other European city and then from there to Malta. Maybe we’ll manage just in time to see their vows. I was looking at devastating people who didn’t get any appropriate flight. But I was still hoping we will find something because we are flexible.
After two hours of sitting in wheelchairs, a worker came and said we have to move. Move where? The place was packed with people. He stated that he was kind to let us sit there, but it is enough. I asked if we can get at least some food coupons and he said to claim by the counter. The same counter Leo in hours didn’t get any closer. People were complaining, reading aloud their rights. But no, we cannot get any food.
I took kids to airplane restaurant where I paid 20 euros for one small sandwich and defrosted chicken steak. There was no table empty, so I asked one couple if kids can join their table so they can eat. I would take them in some outside restaurant, but it was pouring rain. We were without umbrellas and were wearing sandals.
After this horrible meal (with Leo we stayed hungry) kids were already very exhausted. I lied on a floor with Erik, I put my hand over his eyes, and I mumbled a song, so the vibration from my throat lulled him to sleep. Lejla couldn’t sleep so she played a memory — a gift from her nursery.
After six hours of standing in a line, Leo exploded: “It is enough, it’s no use! We are going back to Slovenia!” Everything inside me just collapsed. All my hopes, my desires, expectations popped like a soap bubble.
“We are going back?” I quietly asked.
“What else you want to do? Next flight to Malta is on 1.10. We cannot stay in Venice because it is cold, we don’t have proper clothing, nor shoes…” his eyes were filled with pain.
“Of course, we are going back,” I said.
Even though I couldn’t change what was happening, I couldn’t make a plane to fly; I felt like I am failing. My thoughts were somewhere out there. I don’t want to go back! Anywhere, just not backward. If I were alone, I wouldn’t go to Slovenia. I would walk on rain, find somewhere to sleep, find a flight somewhere, anywhere. But I am not alone, and I cannot be selfish in my desires. Realization struck me, and I couldn’t help myself: I started to cry. Tears were running down my face like a waterfall, and I couldn’t stop it.
Lejla came to me: “What is wrong, mommy?”
“I am sorry my dear, but I cannot fix the plane. We cannot go to Gozo today.”
“But… We supposed to jump in a sea today. I was supposed to dance in my new dress… Now, I won’t see my boy Soma?” and she started to cry as well.
One Italian woman came to us, with a sympathetic look: “I would like to help you so much, but I can’t. We are in this together.”
I arranged a ride back to Slovenia. After 12 hours at the airport, we didn’t dissolve anything. We went back in our cleaned and freshly painted flat. The rain was still falling on a windshield. The darkness came. Not only over the evening land, but also over our disappointed souls.
We hugged. We are still together. That is the important part. We share our pain, and we are ready for new beginnings. On Friday, if Ryanair won’t fail us again, we’ll land on Tenerife.
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One thing I learned over the last couple of years is that stuff doesn’t matter. Clinging to material possessions gives you only a burden. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to have nice stuff around me. It means I learned how to enjoy them while I have them, and being able to let them go when it’s time to do so.