She wasn’t sure what woke her up first-an alarm clock or that terrible headache. She felt like she’d barely slept that night. Reluctantly, she crawled out of a warm bed, putting on a pair of soft slippers. She glanced drowsily at the recently packed luggage standing in front of the white cabinet. She should have bought a bigger one because she’d barely packed all her clothes in this one, but obviously Ryanair only allowed to have a hand luggage of ridiculously small size and hers was nearly always checked. Bloody budget airlines where one had to pay even for the damn tea onboard. She approached the window and opened the curtains scowling at the rays of sun, which screwed into her temples like luminous bolts. She would prefer rain, drizzle or at least big clouds that could cover this unbearable sun, which seemed to emphasize every grimace and wrinkle on her face. Why had she agreed to this journey? If the flight hadn’t been already paid, she would’ve backed out even the same day. Yesterday she’d checked the weather in Paris for the following weekend, it was going to pour down for the next three days. She hated rain. It totally destroyed her mood. Why can’t it be sunny at least once when she goes to Paris? Obviously she hated the sun as well, but perhaps she would like it if it was shiny in Paris, providing it wouldn’t be too sunny because she’d taken a lot of warm clothes with her.
-Drive, you poop!-she slammed the break at the last moment, when she was driving into the parking lot at the airport. The driver in front of her stopped before the barrier to get the parking ticket, pretending that he hadn’t heared a set of swear words coming from her red lips. She wanted to step off the car, tell him to pull down the window and ask him what the hell was the reason of a clumsy drive she had to experience when following him through the traffic jam. If it was his hindsight or his reflection on the green light, which apparently wasn’t green enough to move on. In the end she just hissed and decided to spare her energies for the further toils of her journey. She was pretty sure that she would have to argue about the seat in the plane or explain to the snippy stewardess that “sorry but she won’t put her expensive Hermes bag under the seat while taking off, just to find it sticky from the chewing gum which some brat has dropped there before.”
The check in went surprisingly fast and she wouldn’t have complained were it not for the fact that Francois had booked also a big luggage for her. He could have told her, she wouldn’t have stuffed all her clothes in that small shit. Obviously the information must have been on the ticket, but who would care about such details ?
She marched towards the gate, scolding herself for forgetting an umbrella. The lack of it defined the rest of her unfortunate journey. She would not get soaked and destroy her hairdo in a downpour just to look like a wet rat after five minutes of walk. She intended to spend most of her time in the hotel room. After all, what was there so interesting left to see apart from an overrated Eiffel tour and a few gardens? In general, Paris is dirty, ugly and overrated. Are there any native French there after all? Probably just Arabs shouting ‘allah akbar’ in the subways, making people run in all possible directions struggling for their lives. No…she would not leave the room, not only for the sake of her hairdo but also for her own safety. She was so lost in her thoughts that she barely noticed a guy standing in front of her:
“Execuse me, are You Miss Grudzińsky?” It was a tall handsome grayish guy with hypnotizingly blue eyes. He was wearing a perfectly tailored suit and a heavy extremely expensive watch gleaming on his wrist. ‘Another gabbler looking for a one-night stand ’ she thought ‘How come he knows my name? I wonder what kind of cheap chit-chat he invents to drag me to his bed. He must be at least 15 years older than me, cheeky bastard who thinks that he can charm me with his extravagant watch and these beautiful, hypnotizing, deep-blue, sensitive, marvelous and devilish eyes. She shook her head realizing she’d lost control over her thoughts for a fraction of a second. She straightened her back, cleared her tone and displayed one of the most repelling tones of voice she had in store “Didn’t your mother teach that it is very rude to stare like that at foreigners?” The man repeated his answer indifferently “Are You Miss Grudzińsky?” He was standing there so charming and irresistible, totally ignoring her question. Was he deaf? She started nervously fumbling with her gloves. “Yes, my name is Grudzińsky, what do You want?” She sincerely despised that name, it was so common and simple as if she was common. Indeed she was, but what was the reason for indicating it in this coarse sounding name? “You must have dropped your wallet near the duty-free shop miss. I took a look at your ID inside and concluded it must be yours” the man handed her the brown leather purse. His face a mask of calamity and his damn cold indifference.
She glanced at the documents inside her wallet: ID, flight ticket, money. Fear, joy and relief collided with the feeling of embarrassment and surrender like the masses of warm and cold air causing a storm of wrinkles on her forehead. “Thank You, indeed it belongs to me; however if You expected a finder’s fee, I must disappoint you. I do not support such rubbish.” She announced in a cold voice lowering her gaze. If only she could see how guilty she looked at that moment, she would have run away. She felt red blushes on her cheek and she hated to expose emotions; at least not the ones which could show any weakness of hers. The man gave her an offended look. “I wasn’t expecting any finder’s fee from You, lady, have a nice trip,” he said walking away in a fast gait. She kept looking after him still for a while, holding her purse, a sparkle of melancholy quickly fading away as she clenched her teeth thinking “It must be a thief who gives the impression of a businessman. He surely copied my ID and now he will try to take some credit loan on my name. I need to apply for a new ID as soon as I come back” She took a deep breath and, with these words, everything was back to ordinary. She was safe again, unexposed.
The rest of the journey went on without more distractions. Obviously she didn’t get a bit of sleep because the woman sitting beside her turned out to be a chatterbox using the stuffiest perfume ever and, boldest of all, she was trying to take her seat. “I prefer to sit by the window” “Me too, but I have it guaranteed on my ticket!” she answered excessively politely. For the next hour the same woman carried on her story about stolen work of arts during WWII, as if this kind of lecture ever interested miss Grudzińsky. She hated talking . She hated people. She hated talking with people. The chance to sleep was gone as the captain announced the approaching landing.
Francois was already waiting for her at the airport. Her fiancée was 20 years older than her, but the time was kind to his looks and he was still young at heart. He was reckless sometimes; he enjoyed every moment as if he were still a boy and he had more positive energy than she’d ever had, even as child. She frankly hated him and envied him at the same time. She didn’t love him. She wasn’t able to leave him. He embraced her waist and kissed her tenderly on her cheek. “How was your trip sweetpie?” he whispered at her ear in a pleasingly low tone of voice “It was great, You know how much I love flying,” she smiled putting one of her many masks. “I was thinking that we could go to Eiffel tour this same evening. I know that some tourists think it’s a trite and overrated symbol of Paris, but I am still enchanted by the way it sparkles after dark, the same as I’am mesmerized by the way You look today,” he said sending her that boyish frank smile. He looked so young when he was smiling; she only did when she had to. “What a marvelous idea. I love the Eiffel tour,” she almost exclaimed looking straight in his eyes brushing his cheek with the surface of her well-groomed hand. She could have been an actress. She would have earned a fortune.
Late at night she closed herself in the bathroom and sobbed silently. It was her moment of catharsis, of purity.