As we’re flying over Amsterdam, I turn and look at the the woman on my right. High hair, a thick layer of foundation, black eyeliner, dark pink lipstick, long pink fingernails, gold watch, white blouse, black jeans and high heeled sandals.
“Excuse me, I need to get up”, I address whoever’s under all that, looking for her eyes.
She smiles, nods and quickly drinks up her cola and then gets up together with her son and makes room so that I can get up and out onto the aisle. There’s a queue at the loo. As I’m walking towards the queue, I look at the other passengers and, when my eyes meet others’, I smile. Some smile back. After a few minutes queuing at the lavatory door, listening to children squeaking and parents raising voices, I get in and, as I lock the door, I am hit by this heavy urine smell. I turn and notice the wet spots on the toilet seat and paper thrown on the floor.
I remember my ten hour flight to Bangkok in February this year, on a huge, twin-aisle aircraft, the lavatory almost big enough to move freely in it, beautifully scented and decorated with small vases of fresh flowers. Oh, and the lemon scented hand cream by the sink! And the smiling crew, who seemed to be heading to their holiday destination, as well. A hell of a trip!
I check my face in the mirror and smile to myself. A friend’s voice sounds in my head, bringing back the image of us dancing together in what used to be a very beautiful dance studio: “On doit s’obliger a sourire, Daniela! Toujours!”
Shortly after, London welcomes me with her favorite shade of grey.
Written in my diary during my Bucharest – London flight on August 25, 2016.