The alarm didn’t go off and I am late. Really late. The suitcases are not ready at all and it is already 9 o’clock. No time for coffee or breakfast. Everything needs to be packed and off you go. “Get ready and go!” is the only thought buzzing in my head right now. But I am tired and drowsy. I can barely move. However, the bus is still traveling to Italy and I still need to pack for a wedding. Outside of the room I scream at my mother. Why is she here anyway? Isn’t she supposed to… “Your suitcase is ready, so are your papers and ticket” she says, standing at the door, obviously tired of me being late every single time. I sweetly thank her, grabbing my suitcase and running franticly towards the bus station.
The trip is scheduled to last more than 25 hours and I am not ready for that. In my pocket I hear the cash money getting intimate with my keys. Will that money be enough? Which keys am I carrying either way? Arriving at the bus station, I see a big line of people waiting to buy a ticket. I can hear my heart pumping in my head. This is not good. Maybe if I scream then everybody will freak out and make room for the crazy one to pass. This sounds like a great idea. But not today. I wait patiently till the moment I feel excruciating pain on my foot. A heavy guy has just stepped on me. This is going fantastic! An awkward, loud laugh comes out of my mouth. Silence. No one turns to look at me. That is weird. I silently cross my fingers for everything to turn out ok.
Suddenly I remember I haven’t bought any gifts. My best friend is getting married and me, an organization freak, have forgotten to buy a present. Great. I skip the line for the bus and run to the nearest patisserie. A nice fellow sitting behind the counter smiles at me, while packing a cake. There are still nice people on earth. While heading back to the bus line I realize I have actually forgotten my suitcase. How is this now possible? Didn’t I just have it with me? It is big, blue and noticeable. Is it stolen? Where is it? No, no it is still in the room, STILL IN THE ROOM. I look at the clock above the counter and realize I only have 10 minutes. How am I supposed to do so many things in such a short time? My mind is raving around the fact that this is not the first time I do this. How can I be so unprepared for such a big trip? My heartbeat has reached my mouth, my legs are shaking and my hands are freezing cold. I feel warm, burning tears coming out of my eyes. My biggest fear is coming true. My biggest fear is coming true. I put my cold hands towards my forehead and realize I am sweating. I feel like fainting. Everything is hazy and dark. No more ticket lines, clocks, suitcases or trips. The next thing I know I am laying on my bed, sweating heavily on my pillow.
I open my eyes and look outside the window. I am home in the Netherlands, having a nightmare. On my attempt to recover from this dream, I am trying to think really hard whether I have or not a trip planned. These recurrent nightmares had started the moment I left my country. Always with the same feeling of missing a plane, a bus, a trip. This fear of being late and missing a scheduled trip has become a serious reason for me to spent my nights struggling with my own thoughts. I soon recover and reassure myself that this happens because of my constant traveling between homes; the one I grew up in and the one I built here. I stand up, make coffee and gaze outside at the rainy weather when my phone rings. “Where are you?” a voice screams in my ear. “I am home, drinking some coffee. I had one of those nightmares again, it was so real!” I say laughing at my own fear. “Your plane is leaving in 30 minutes”, the voice responds worried and I realize my biggest fear has indeed come true.
(Photo: Abstract Light, Minolta dynax 7000i, Ilford 200, 35mm film, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 2015.)