This week has been a little troubled. Flying some 20 hours alone with a toddler is fun and challenging enough. Especially the bit when this little guy over 20 kilos decides to fall deeply asleep just before the landing of the first flight. And you look at your stupid ten-kilo hand-luggage (everybody knows that hand-luggage is never weighted) and his stupid cute Mickey Mouse backpack which is not heavy but cumbersome. You think: “That’s okay, they’ll have strollers or trolleys over there. Just need a few steps now.” But they don’t. And Doha airport gets suddenly huger and stressful. Then you remember, hey, it could be worse: you could be blocked in Frankfurt, in the 40 sqm flat of Bibi, because you forgot your passports in the train to wherever.
And that’d be pain in the ass.
Me, very proud, toying with my glass of bad wine: “Yeah I know, he looks like me… only, in white. And blond. But he has my chin and my eyes. And my curls. Yes, definitely. You see here..?”
Bibi, looking at the picture of Babylove: “Well yes, he does look like you. But this photo does not resemble him. At all. Look at all the chocolate on his face. I hope his passport pic looks more like him, or they won’t let you go…”
My heart skips a beat. BL’s passport. My passport. I reach into my bag and close my eyes. Oho.
Bibi: “No. Nononono. Jess, no. I see it on your face. You did not dare to do a Jess again. No – Way.”
Me: “You look pale, it’s not like you. Okay let’s breathe in. Breathe out. (I close my eyes and think – I always prefer to think before getting panicked, because once I am panicked and emotional, I can’t think straight anymore. If I can’t think straight, I tend to react and do bullshit. Like what happened with the passports… before this conversation. What I did not remember at the time of the conversation, of course. So I think:) Hm. If they’re not in my handbag, they’ll be in my hand-luggage. If not, they’ll be in my suitcases in the locker at the train station. If not, they’ll be back at home, 250 km away.”
Bibi, a bit hysterical if you want my opinion: “What? Okay! Let’s go home. Now!”
Yes, you remember? Last week, my flat has been emptied and all my stuff stuffed in a container. We passed the weekend with food trouble and playing with cartons – big ups to Pinterest. Then, because the flight to Singapore took off from Frankfurt (with a stop-over in DHA), I decided to come a day earlier and spend some time with Bibi. She lives there and she’s fun. She’s from Paris too, and she wears it on her skinny pants, her shoes, her make-up and her many cigarettes a day. She came to pick up BL and me at the train station, where we left the big suitcases in a locker. Then we strolled to her place. After Babylove fell asleep, we landed at the cafe at the corner of her house. That was very convenient. Cities are very convenient I must say. I guess that’s why you pay more for a bad wine. You drink it then you go to bed. Literally. Easy.
Bibi: “So? SO? SOOO?”
We woke up Bibi’s flatmate to keep an eye on Babylove while we would be on a mission to the train station. It was already 1 AM, Wednesday. She did not complain, she loves Babylove. She went with him in Bibi’s bed. And off Bibi and I went.
Bibi: “So? SO? SOOO?”
By then, Bibi was so pale I feared she might collapse. I think I felt a bit anxious too, because I broke the key of the locker in the door. The guys sleeping around had complained because of the noise – I assume the grinding of the door opening and closing and the squeaking of our voices did not help for a beauty rest.
I called the friend back once-home who had the keys of my once-flat. 2 AM. Asked him if he could go and check. I had the vision behind my eyelids of my passports in the drawer. Showing them to the container guys, telling them absolutely not to take them. What if they had? Wow, no, that’s Bibi’s and Love’s style. Worrying before confirming that the simplest and likeliest solution is the one.
Bibi: “I can’t wait. I can’t. You’re killing me, Jess. Last time it was… what was it again? How do you think you will be able to get your passes back before noon?”
Me: “If they’re at home, I’ll A. go fetch them with the first train or B. try a DHL same day delivery.”
Bibi: “And if not? DHL does same day delivery? But what if not? If they’re not there?”
Me: “I wonder how long you need for an emergency passport… You have a consulate in Frankfurt, don’t you?”
Bibi: “Ah, why is your friend not calling back now? Now!”
The phone rings. He’s calling back. The train station security guys arrive too. They’ve seen me break the key in the locker door and heard the sleeping men on the floor complain.
Security man: “Yes miss?”
Bibi: “No, she’s on the phone. Sorry.”
Bibi: “Why? The passports are not there?”
Me: “Dunno, I had to call back. It’s ringing now.”
Policeman: “Is there anything I can help you with miss? What about the locker? I think you’ll have to come back tomorrow morning…”
Me: “Yes, I understand. Too bad. I’m sorry for the mess. Thanks for checking though.”
Policeman: “That’s my job, miss. Don’t worry…”
Bibi: “I think she speaks to the friend on the phone.”
Me: “But that applies to you too of course.”
I am not sure what or how I am supposed to feel. I am sad for Babylove and Love, I really want us to be reunited. It starts to be long. And I have already made my farewells to Bavaria, and even Germany. I am already gone. But not really – I don’t have the passports. I close my eyes, and I am so sure that the passports are not in the container. I see myself putting them in the little pocket I always use for traveling papers… oh.
Me: “Last time, it was the laptop in the train. Because I fell asleep and the doors were closing and I ran out without my stuff.”
Bibi: “YES! Genau! That was horrible, but the driver found it and you got your laptop safely two days later almost at your doorstep. (She looks at me, with the light of understanding in her eyes quickly replaced by the horror implied.) Oh no.”
Me: “Hm, well. Yes. Let’s see. I’ll come back first hour of the day. There’s probably a lost-and-found basket somewhere.”
Sitting in the taxi in Singapore, I had to tell the whole story to Love, and Gabi, a friend who came to meet us during her stop-over between Mexico and Jakarta.
How I spent the night sleeping not that well. How I went to the counter the morning to apologize for the broken locker key. How a nice gentleman talking to the nice locker room lady recognized me in two seconds – he works for DB Bahn and was just on a break talking to his girlfriend, but what a coincidence:
DB Bahn man: “Are you Jessica? I recognize your hair. You have a blond curly little one? You’re going to Singapore? Yeah, my colleague in the train, you know, the controller. You talked yesterday, and the little one said that you were traveling. Yes, he was sick, she told me, and you left the train in haste. Traveling alone with all your things, that’s crazy! Anyway, she saw your pocket where you had put your train tickets and your passports, but you were already off. So on the way back this morning, she brought them at the center. Yes, I got them. You’re lucky, I was just about to leave as you can see hahaha! I just take the lady here to lunch and cinema. The day is beautiful, why not? Come with me I’ll give you your things. Bon voyage, you say that in French, don’t you?”
See? See? Never act or react with haste and anxiety. It makes you do stupid things, like forget important papers in the train. Or laptops. I think I hugged the guy. I think I used my lifetime luck the past 30 years. Now it’s over. Or maybe not. Let’s hope not, they have the subway in Singapore.
In the taxi from the airport to the hotel, Babylove was awake. He was watching the tall buildings of the city, asking with his little voice the same question over and over: “Papa, are we in Singapore? Are we together?”