Halfway Across India, I Adjusted My Tiara.

Doha was gone. I was halfway across India when I made a trip to the airplane toilet. It was a dazzling bright blue morning sky, and we were high above layers of wispy clouds. The toilet had a window and while I stood to wash my face I could see through to the ground below. I’d been crying on and off since take off, and as I looked down I told myself to snap out of it. I wondered about all of the women filling those patches of land below me who were living a much harder life than I was.

I’m ashamed to admit, that right at that point in time, I just couldn’t make myself care.

I whispered to myself as I looked down, trying to make sense of the jigsaw of multiple shades of brown land “get over yourself Kirsty”. Think about how lucky you are to have access to decent health care. How lucky you are to have family to return to. How lucky you are that your condition is treatable. And all I could muster was a bland, banal, sigh.

I was so immersed in my own pity party that the starving millions were going to have to wait at the front door until I’d adjusted my tiara, straightened up my princess frock and wiped the mascara from under my eyes.

“You can’t reason with your heart; it has its own laws, and thumps about things which the intellect scorns.”
Mark Twain.

I’ve had my share of goodbyes. In hindsight, boarding school was brilliant preparation to the expat life. You come, you go – you leave one world and step into another. Logically you know exactly how many sleeps until the next visit, you can train yourself to diminish expectations and control reactions, but you can’t reason with your heart. I now realize why my mother struggled so much with those bus stop farewells, when it comes to your own children – the heart is highly unreasonable.

I kept myself together at the airport. The little travelers attached themselves to my legs and I giggled while we cuddled. I didn’t make eye contact with G because he knew, he had held me only hours before while I’d sobbed myself to sleep, he didn’t speak in the darkness, there was nothing he could say, he just held me tighter until I fell asleep.

The pity party is over.

I woke up at 2 a.m on top of the bed, fully dressed with the lights on. I’d laid down at 5 p.m. last night, thinking I’d just wait for thirty minutes before I tried again to see if the hot water system was working. Jetlag had me craving a warm chicken salad at 3 a.m. and now that we’re getting close to 6 a.m. I think I might be ready for a steak.

I’ve read through all of the material for the hospital, I now understand what the urodynamics test is that I’m going to have today, and no, it has nothing to do with auditioning for an eighties pop band like I had initially suspected. Today is all about getting prepared. I’m booking doctors appointments, visiting the hospital and looking for flowing maxi dresses that will disguise my soon to be acquired catheters.

I walked with the iPad around the house yesterday, showing the little travelers how different this beach house looks in the summer, I showed them the new colours of our garden, they giggled at my tiny little car, they’ve never seen me with a tiny little car. I pressed my lips up to the camera and imagined myself underneath the blanket with them on the couch.

The pity party is over, it’s time to get on with things. Life is different but I have a time frame. I’m counting the sleeps, being productive and making the most of it.

Tiara be gone.

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