$340 later and I was back home, double vaxxed with my dog, a free house and the fan on high.
The lights were finally starting to dim on a very long boxing day. It was the second trip on my round tour of trauma. Only kidding, Tamworth was the 2/3 trips I was cramming into the final weeks of 2021.
I think I had a similar idea to others during lockdown, where I would fantasize about travel.
I would envision: wide open spaces, maybe a miniature horse, no loud neighbours, no face masks or QR codes…. MMmmmmmm.
So of course I got carried away, and committed to three full weeks of back to back travel when restrictions eased…
First on the list was QLD. I saw a play, an old friend, visited my brother, grandma. However the surprise came at the end when we were driving home, and I woke up to find my mum, whom I hadn’t spoken to in years staring at me through the car window.
Trip 2 was Christmas, with my pleasant extended family which as per the tradition, turned into fight club over a 72-year old’s short fuse.
I knew it was going to explode over something as silly as someone putting the bowl back in the wrong place, but I was feeling somewhat optimistic.
And Christmas did go smoothly, however Boxing Day let my aunt’s inner Christmas Ripper loose. And rip the mood she did, as we all looked pretty confused at how things went from bad to me escaping on a flight the same day.
Family is the toughest- with no set boundaries, and unconditional love getting in the way. And say, if you did try and implement healthy boundaries, they look at you like you’re crazy. To them, you’ll always be the child and them the adult. Hmph.
Before I left Tamworth, my aunt did come to apologise, which is also a tradition (much like her tantrums) however I wasn’t really in the mood. I just wanted this travel bonanza to cease, and to be back in my own bed.
Possibly a plus of these trips were that my tear ducts not only woke up after months, but drowned me in all this disappointment.
Disappointment I had chosen to sweep away, on account that we can all say the wrong thing without meaning to (especially me).
Little comments friends had said and I hoped they didn’t mean, my boss telling me not to be weak in order to make what she did feel less manipulative, an ex telling me I was selfish… sometimes it’s just easier to forget than have to tell them what they said was not okay. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
It was like the internal rain had been building and then BOOM!
I cried on the way to the airport, as Len tapped my arm to see if I was okay. I cried as I packed my bag after my aunt’s explosion. I even cried behind my face mask on the plane and again once we were in baggage claim.
I’ve come to notice at 24 that adults don’t cry much. We either leak a little and then go back to being productive or we weep.
And I was fucking weeping. A weeping, wet mess. However, I did enjoyed how the face-mask offered a nice distraction to people meeting my puffy eyes with looks of pity. Who knew it had two great functions; a omicron shield and a tear catcher.
On the plane, the air hostess gave everyone who said yes to wine, two bottles each.
And thus, 3.2 standard drinks were had in the space of 25 minutes and before I knew it, I was off the plane and flying towards the baggage claim like a sugar-gliding possum.
Maybe it was the altitude idk, but the wine even made walking home with my big suitcase in the rain seem somewhat refreshing. Like a shampoo ad.
At home, my dad had dropped off my pup and he greeted me with a shower of kisses. And I finally was able to relax by myself, alone, for the first time in 2 weeks.
Later that night, I called my friend who had said her Christmas topped mine.
“HOw?” I asked.
“Well… my partner and I ended things becuase of her mother and the vaccine. “
“What! That’s crazy.”
“I’m so sorry. Shit- 2021 was not a kind year, “ I said.
“ Nope. “
(When you think about it, even the date feels funny to write out by hand. Like a Freudian slip of the wrist; 2021. )
So yes, of course there is no denying this year was crap. But having the time to call a family member or friend more or to try a random hobby, while stuck inside for another Friday night may have opened a little door, that made this year feel a little lighter.
And from nothing, comes something.
Perhaps, 2021 wasn’t what we hoped for but maybe it was what some of us needed.