“I must look awful,” I muttered, tugging at my scarf and smoothing the sides of my perfectly crumpled dress. My eyebrows knitted as I mentally scolded myself for not wearing a crease-free dress that could endure hours of restless sitting.
“Don’t be silly,” she laughed. Her eyes still beamed without once blinking their gaze away from mine. She folded me into another embrace before my sister in law cleared her throat to indicate it was her turn to give me some loving.
Security personnel who’d watched me shift from one plastic seat to another must’ve been relieved that I was finally leaving the airport. I imagine my 12-hour sit-in had them scratching their heads and chins from behind CCTV screens as I checked and rechecked my phone for calls and messages. The departure lounge had only a trickle of people dragging their feet along its marble floor, as most flights had disembarked much earlier.
Stepping out to Marseille’s frigid air, my lungs had their fill of real oxygen; the air-conditioned atmosphere I’d succumbed to previously had been suffocating. My thin cardigan did nothing to stop shivers nipping down my back, but a solid smile formed on my face. I was finally out of the airport with extended family while winds battered and raged back home in London; and in another 24 hours, my family circle would come to an even tighter close after tearful exchanges two weeks earlier.
I lifted my chin to the night sky and sent Him what were nothing but inadequate praises. I marvelled at how swiftly the wind’s direction can change; how a gust can slow to a gentle breeze; and how from a raging storm, my heart could settle to find some peace. Misty air dissipated as fervent whispers rose from my lips; and I could’ve sworn the scarcely scattered stars twinkled a little brighter.