Travelling Alone

photo by Melissa Reid

photo by Melissa Reid

Saturday 5th October, 5:22am. It’s the first day of the holidays. Naw, I’m no in bed. It’s bloody balltick and am standing at the drop off point in Edinburgh Airport wearing a pair eh shorts. “It’ll be roastin in Madrid,” ma Mum keeps saying. Aye well its -2 oot here and am pure freezing so gie it a rest hen. Then ma Dad starts, “Have you got your passport? Boarding pass? Money?” Aye right, calm it Dad. Am no a numpty. Ma Mum looks worried. Her face is aw white, “Gran will get you at the airport, be careful!” “Aye, I’ll be fine! See yous in a week.” She starts again, “Almost forgot – here’s a key, we’ll still be at work when you get back,” throwing a key in ma direction. Gid job she's on her toes, that couldae been a palava. A stick the key in the pocket of ma shorts. I can tell by the look on ma Mum’s face that she’s thinking, “Am a seriously letting this clampit travel alone?”

A go tae the Easy Jet desk tae check masel in. There’s a sign saying Check-In Open at 6.30. Its 5.30. Why the hell am a here so early? Ma Mum and Dad were obviously desperate to get rid eh me, like. Christ sake. Whit am a gonnae dae? A canny just stand here for an hour, a look like a right pleb. A see a Weatherspoons and go there tae pass time. Any excuse tae eat, eh?

Am starving. A order a bacon roll and a tea. The wifey brings them over. “Would you like any milk or sugar madam?” Madam! Is she talking tae me? HA! “That would be gid thanks, can a have some tomato sauce as well?” What she brings over isny milk. It’s that fake milk that comes in “milklits” and the tomato sauce isny Heinz. It’s the cheap stuff that comes in satchets. Poor show, Weatherspoons. When a try to rip one eh the satchets open it spurts aw er the joint. Aw shit. It’s on ma shorts. A try tae wipe it but it smudges making it worse. Is this seriously happening? Ave had enough eh this, am paying the bill and getting oot eh here. “That’s thirteen pounds twenty please." THIRTEEN QUID! Jeezo, that’s daylight robbery. Al no be coming back here in a hurry.

A check the time on ma phone, its 6.34. Check-In must be open. A go towards the desk. There’s a hefty line. A canny be arsed wae this, like. This line is literally moving at 2 miles per hour. There’s a family eh four wae two nippy kids in front eh me. One eh the wee rodents keeps greetin. “Preston honey, stop annoying your brother, he doesn’t like it”. Aye too right he doesnae like it. He’s greetin. Git yer bairns telt hen.

Finally a get tae the front eh the line. A should eh done this online. I hand her over ma boarding pass and passport. “It says here you’re not checking in a bag. Did you change your mind?” She’s looking at ma carry on case. “Naw, this is ma carry on case.” “Sorry, but that case is actually too big to be a carry on. If you wish to take your bag you will have to pay the £50 check in fee.” Is this lassie for real?! £50! A canny believe this. “You may wish to take anything you will need during the flight out of your bag before we check it.” A take out all the essentials – Passport, Boarding Pass, Kindle, Purse, Tampons. The Easy-Jet lassie looks at the tampons and to the red stain on ma shorts. “Aw naw – naw that’s tomato sauce, honest.” She raises her scouse brows at me like am a complete goon. Look at me when yer face is the same colour as yer neck, pal.

Where am a gonnae put all ma stuff? A canny just carry it aw. A go in tae WHSmith to buy something so a can get a plastic bag to carry aw ma crap. A pick up some juicy fruit chewing gum and go tae the check out. The guy scans it and hands it back tae me. “Can a have a bag, please?” “For a packet of chewing gum?” Just gie me the bag!!!! “That will be 5p please.” For a bag? Seriously? God sake. Am skint and am no even oot the country yet. A take a bit eh chewing gum oot and shove the pack in ma pocket. Am fed up wae this crap already. Screw going on holiday ever again.

A get tae customs. There’s another massive queue. Am standing holding half ma belongings in a plastic WHSmith bag. A look like a dodgy weirdo. Folk are staring. A shove the bag, my watch and belt into the tray to go through the X-ray machine thing. A go forward and through the metal detector, it goes off. Nae doot it would happen tae me. The big butch security wifey starts searching me. A feel pretty violated. “Empty your pockets”.

I put ma hand into ma pocket and pull out ma house key. Oops! Whit am a like?

Loren Lappin, University of Strathclyde. She says: “I'm Loren, a fresher studying English & Politics. I like to write, play hockey and go to Shimmy on a Wednesday night. I also make a mean stir fry if that interests anyone.”