Covering my face with my hands, there is an incessant in-pouring of light. I feel like I am in a casket. My brain seems to be swelling, in tune with an invisible pendulum. Waves of nausea flood my body. Small children thunder around in front of me, like hysterical nightmare projections.
I have never enjoyed being in Airports. They are morgues with an added buzz of visitors and commerce. The sterility of the interior design and the nervous excitability of the passengers sets me very quickly on edge. As a salesman for a major international e-commerce company, I am required to fly often.
To avoid excess stress and anxiety I prepare meticulously. Nothing must be left to chance. I am regimented and purposeful during my preparation. If the luggage allowance is 15kg, then I make sure that my suitcase is dead on that weight. I reweigh my suitcases on several sets of scales. Checking there is no error in their calibration. I do not carry any prohibited travel items. I ring airline customer support several times to double-check. I rummage through my suitcase repeatedly. I allow no error to go unnoticed. I google articles about travel preparation, checklists, essential travel items and I read articles about anxiety related to fear of flying. Neither my emotional state nor practical matters are to take me by surprise. I am like a samurai undertaking pre-battle rituals.
Check-in is open. I funnel through to the check-in desk. There are several people before me; their movements generate a low pitch buzzing in my head. They are hyper-kinetic, speaking at unreasonably loud volumes in an indecipherable language. My arms vibrate down by my sides, my tongue thickens. I feel warmer and more vulnerable. I start to think about the first meal I’ll eat in Rekyjavik. I have panicked thoughts, recognition of myself in these thoughts is minimal. I swing around to check that nobody is standing directly behind me. The several people check in without issue. A man in all black clothing, I presume, a security guard intercepts me and asks me to go to desk 13. Although there is a sign hanging down from the ceiling with directions to check-in desks 10-15, I am unable to locate desk 13. I double back on myself, I ask the check-in assistant from desk 12 where desk 13 is. She says that it has been temporarily moved to the second floor of the terminal. Desk 13 on the second floor doesn't in the slightest resemble a check-in desk. A burly individual with an absence of ****** expressions or an officious manner mans an oak desk. There is no conveyor belt for the luggage, only a shopping trolley. ''Ermmm can I check in here?''. The man whom lacks an officious manner nods curtly without removing his eyes from the newspaper he is reading. "Documentation''. I hand him my documentation. ''Passport''. ''Going to Reykjavik?'' ''Erm yes''. ‘’Follow me’’.
The man, who lacks an officious manner, leads me a door behind the check-in desk that doesn’t in the slightest resemble a check-in desk. A young child with golden blonde hair in white robes pushes the shopping trolley behind me. We enter a room that is high like a cathedral and tiled in exquisite mosaic tiles; alternating gold and white into infinity. The ceiling is so high it seems to disappear off into a void. Sat down at a bog-standard mass manufactured desk in front of me, is a man who must be at least 13 feet tall, he has enormous ears like an elephant and is speaking in rounds of what sounds like the same phrase. I do not recognise the language. I am ceased from behind by the blonde child and the man who lacks an officious manner. The man with enormous ears like an elephant screams ‘’I hate Iceland’’, the blonde child laughs uncontrollably grabbing his stomach like he is holding his insides in. The ceiling begins to close in and a space opens in the floor. The man who lacks an officious manner says in a sinister tone says ‘’Do you think you would be forgiven”. I say ‘’I have got a ticket, I’m going to Iceland on business’’ I feel a prodding in my lower back and then darkness.
#shortstory #anxiety #Rekyjavik