The day is finally here! We leave the UK, headed for Bangkok with a layover in Bejing.
Day 2. Diary date: October 3rd, 2019.
Waking up, preparing to leave
I wake up early whilst K’s getting ready for work. A sombre mood hangs between us, but there’s so much latent excitement there too. Rather than feeling regretful over yesterday’s mix-up, I only feel relieved that we have travel sorted to Bangkok tonight. Things could’ve been really bad if we didn’t realise when we did. Imagine if there wasn’t—conveniently—a budget flight available the next day!
I get dressed, sling on my backpack, and chuckle to myself at the realisation that our flight is routed through China—where S had a brief encounter with the prison system a few years back. Hopefully, there won’t be any issues…
Walking with K to Surrey Quays underground, I realise how happy I am just to be with and near her. We say our goodbyes at Canada Water; we kiss, but the crowded surroundings subdue our farewell. Maybe that’s for the best, I don’t know. We both well up slightly as we depart. I head back towards Pinner, so S and I can plan our last day in the country.
The sky is, predictably, grey. The song below plays over and over in my headphones:
Meta or over-indulgent? Bit of both.
Breakfast, nap, gym. It’s a shit gym session, but who cares—today’s an extraordinary day. We chat with his family, and his mother repeats precautions at us over and over in her endearing Indian accent:
Look out for each other!
She takes me aside, asks me to look after S. I agree, but truthfully I’m not sure I deserve her faith in my ability to look after him.
We’re simultaneously calm and nervous; I don’t know why, but the feeling is reminiscent of heading towards an interview. Also, we decide not to share the fact that we missed our flight and had to re-book. Oops.
Excitement is tinged by some poignancy, thinking of all the recent goodbyes. At the airport, we take some pictures and wave our final waves to S’ parents. The risk of missing two flights in a row was hanging over us. Boarding and security are fine—the relief is overwhelming. I message everyone with updates and just chat.
We drink too much duty-free gin. If that won’t put me to sleep, I don’t know what will.
Boarding the plane
As we climb those familiar plane-steps, I can’t help but notice that we’re grinning the entire time.
The Air China flight has this great, calming ambience with that stereotypical lulling Chinese style played on a Guzheng. You know the sound:
Overall, it’s been such an eventful day. I’m typing this sitting on the plane, just as we leave the UK, flying across the British channel. What will tomorrow hold in store for us? I don’t know, but I can’t wait. Beijing layover tomorrow, and then straight to Bangkok, provided there are no complications.