Anna's first flight was a short one. In grade ten she boarded an Air Canada flight to Toronto with twenty-four classmates and four of her art teachers. They were going to tour art schools and enjoy the many art museums of the city.
Before this flight Anna had refused to eat for fear of vomiting during the flight and embarrassing herself in front of her classmates and teachers. She was the youngest person on the trip, having been specially requested to join the group of twelfth graders when someone backed out of the trip last minute.
Before she went through security Anna had purchased a Caramilk bar and a 7Up. These were the days when liquids were permitted past security, and even on to planes.
The sugar rush did it's thing and Anna found herself excited, not nervous, during the flight. Since then, every time Anna got on a plane she had a Caramilk and 7Up in hand.
It was 11:25pm when Anna remembered her pre-flight routine. She fumbled in her purse for her bar.
Where the fuck is it? Wallet, cell phone, lip balm, date book... Caramilk!
Anna unwrapped the paper around the bar and peeled back the aluminum enclosing the chocolate. She cracked a square off and popped it in her mouth. The chocolate quickly began to melt giving way to sticky caramel.
Anna sat and swirled the candy around her mouth.
If I go and I end up hating it I can come back. I can change my ticket.
She twisted the cap off her 7Up and drank. The fizz made her eyes water.
If I go and change my mind about him, it's okay. I can come back home. I can start over.
Another square of chocolate entered Anna's mouth, but the hand that put it there was still without feeling.
I am stronger now. It won't be the end of me, if this doesn't work life will go on. I can do life alone.
"All passengers boarding flight Air Canada 866 please proceed to Gate 23 immediately."
I just don't really want to do life alone. Maybe my life can be better with him in it now.
Anna suddenly felt very alone. But the departure lounge at Gate 23 was now packed.
She had never flown alone before, much less alone across an entire ocean. It then occurred to her that on the other side of the ocean was a man who loved her. Who loved her so much, he was willing to share his tiny dorm room with her for almost two months. He was willing to let her into a life changing experience he was having, a world away from home. He wanted to have that experience with her.
And I want to have it with him.
Anna stretched her right hand in front of her face, flexing her fingers and fluttering them. She took another swig of the bubbly drink.
This time we will be better.