Twenty-three hours after I left home and wearing my trench coat and thermal leggings, I stumbled bleary-eyed from customs to baggage claim then down the corridor out into Manchester Airport waiting area. My visit to Joan was killing me. I’d decided that Donna would’ve checked my flight and seen that it had been delayed. She’d be waiting for me. She had to be.
She wasn’t. It seemed the only people waiting for my flight were men clad in black holding up signs with names printed on them in large letters. There were no women. I stood there. Don’t panic. I could do this. Feeling light-headed I started to read the signs. You just never knew. One man lifted his placard in my direction as if to tempt me: MR. PETERS, it said. Giving him a nervous grin, I started toward the doors leading out into Manchester when, to my relief, I saw a sign down the way that said “Meeting Area.” Phew. That’s where she would be, tired of standing by the gate.
It wasn’t to be. Just two men, sitting on a bank of seats. Okay. I was officially screwed. No phone numbers, no way to contact either Joan or Donna. No actual physical address. What an idiot I was. I sank into one of the seats, lack of sleep making me feel as if someone had smeared Vaseline over my mind. Think. Okay, I would take a train up to Morland and ask around the village if someone knew where Joan lived. It was a small enough village, right?
I sighed. I couldn’t do this right now. I was just too tired. So first thing, I’d spend the night in Manchester, get some sleep then head out in the morning. But meanwhile, I’d post a message on Facebook for both Joan and Donna. One of them was bound to see it. Maybe by the morning . . . I opened my computer. No juice. No adapter. Luckily, I found one in the concession shop, and posted, in small letters, no punctuation, too tired: “joan and donna I’m here in manchester airport, where are you help.” Later, I would read an answering post from my son who lives in South Africa that said, “Is Mummy lost in England. Shall I send out a search team?” I got a kick out of that one. But meanwhile, I had to convert my American dollars into English pounds and head into the wild blue yonder.