End of a sensing

Rain lashed at the window then changed its mind. Stillness fell into the nothing happening moments where we are just waiting for the things we have to do. Hours can be filled with talk when they are leading to more hours. When they about a parting, it’s all about, if anything, what’s the combination for the key safe, what time’s your onward train, yes, I’ve got my passport.

Food we thought we’d want but didn’t sits on the table with one of us eating some of it, but not much. How did you sleep? Not bad. Off and on. (Rubbish, really – same effect as the night before we came, different cause: anticipation has home advantage for me.)

At the bus stop, I see my first Icelandic police officer. An American is being invited to stay some extra time, in prison, if he likes. He explains, patiently, as if to an uncomprehending idiot, that he just got into an argument with his friends and laid one of them out. ‘It was like that’ – he bangs one fist into the other palm’ – ‘you can ask anyone here’, he gestures to the crowd pretending not to pay attention.

Iceland offers its brief farewell of lashing hail in the few yards from bus to terminal doors. The rest is the international language of airports: (even more) overpriced coffee, made-in-China fluffy-toy nods to where you’ve been. I buy a puffin and a lamb with an Iceland-flag foot for the girls. Then the liturgy of queuing, people watching, and nodding back to your phone if you accidentally catch someone’s glance.

Then the smallest part of the journey. That insignificant distance over an ocean, strapped to a hurtling chair.

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