The suitcase slips from your sweaty palm.
“Crash!” – Heads turn – we have an audience again.
You abandon the hated case at the side of a busy set-down area, oblivious to annoyed individuals, now tripping and stumbling over it, while you pace around in tiny circles, frustratingly scanning the immediate area for a “God Damn” trolley bay.
Impatiently, you yank the heavy suitcase onto it’s three working wheels and begrudgingly drag it towards the electronic doors, slotting in behind a gaggle of excited travellers, all pouring into the main terminal building.
As always, I follow along.
We make our way slowly towards check-in desk number 15; another business trip to Birmingham. I don’t even know why you bother to bring me, you spend most of the time glued to your laptop or on your phone – actually, correction – I do know why you bring me – you need me to look pretty, at your meetings and at the hotel bar afterwards. You need me to keep any significant other that might be present; busy and entertained, all while you spend the evening working your “magic”, as you call it, trying to clinch your deals.
To be honest, we both know you lost that magic years ago.
As we approach the centre of the expansive terminal, the midday sun illuminates the crystal clear glass panels in the ceiling above us. The shimmering light bounces playfully off overhead advertising signs, reflecting a rainbow of colours onto the perfectly polished floors.
The stained glass effect reminds me of a cathedral – this church of the modern day globetrotter. My thumb unconsciously floats towards my ring finger.
The distant rumble of a low flying jet masks the incoherent mumbling from a crackling tannoy system, as we navigate through disjointed lines of eager passengers.
Up ahead, I spot the neon glow of a bubbling hen party; a not-so-subtle parade of rosé ribbons and pretty pink dresses, which in turn catches the eye of a passing, boisterous bachelor party. My senses suddenly assaulted by the overpowering wave of sweetened perfume hanging in the air, flirting shamelessly with the pungent smell of alcohol and stale aftershave.
On passing, a wayward arm from one of the over excited young men catches me off guard, sending my travel documents tumbling to the floor.
Flustered, I sink down to gather all the pieces together. As I do, a young, delicate hand reaches out towards me, handing me my passport. Looking up, I find myself face to face with the bride-to-be, her title emblazoned across a pretty pink sash, worn proudly across her chest. Fresh faced and beaming smile, love and innocence in her beautiful green eyes – my jealousy and envy shames me – That used to be me.
“Samantha…!” an exasperated tone emanates from the middle of a small crowd of curious onlookers, “What the hell are you doing, I’m going to be late!!”
And then, right there in that surreal moment, on my knees, surrounded by complete strangers, I only noticed one detail…
… My wedding ring was gone.
I must have been lazily twirling it around the tip of my finger, like I sometimes do when I’m day dreaming; that sudden knock must have sent it flying.
I stare silently at the subtle pink imprint left on my finger and wait apprehensively for the panic to set in. But it doesn’t. Nothing comes. There is no sense of loss, or even a need to anxiously scramble around the glossy tiles on my hands and knees.
I’m actually glad the ring is missing.
Maybe it was the sight of the beautiful, young bride to be, full of excitement and adventure for her new life ahead; or maybe it was the now obvious confusion creeping across her innocent face, as if asking herself, “How could a husband speak like that to his wife?”
And just like that, whatever dense fog that had blinded me from the truth of my situation, had suddenly lifted.
“Samantha…!” That voice again – but now seemingly distant, almost defused.
It had finally hit me – an epiphany, now as crystal clear in my mind as the beautiful illuminated ceiling that floated over my head.
Standing up tall in my scuffed Gucci heels, staring straight into his scowling, reddening face, I loudly proclaim with a confident, growing giddiness:
“Donald… I don’t love you any more. In fact, I don’t think I’ve loved you in years!”
The deafening silence that descended on the crowd lasted an eternity – only broken by the harsh feedback of the tannoy system, announcing the gate number for Ryanair flight number FR1348 to Fuerteventura.
My mind was made up in an instant… I was getting on that plane.