TOO ILL TO FLY:
A young woman looks ill in the queue for passport control. As she leans on her man I feel her breath close behind me. I think anti-viral thoughts & hold my breath when she says, “I feel so rough, but I don’t want to miss the party”. I’m going blue when he says, “I’m going on a diet soon as we get back. I always feel fat when I’ve been in Italy”. He’s skinny with a sketched on beard. A pale face beneath a new flat cap.
Her eyes are dark & distant, she sags on the brutal chrome & metal of the seating in the stripped down departure lounge. I have a memory of crawling around an airport concourse feeling like the way she looks, so I keep watching them as we board the plane. Make a bee line for a window seat, build a barricade. Find a wall to screw a coat up as a pillow & close my eyes.
Let it all slide by on the other side, relieved a well dressed couple take the seats next too me. Laugh out loud & flinch every time the woman at my elbow sneezes & coughs all the way back to Essex.