As I write this it is Friday night. I was supposed to be in Cuba over 24 hours ago. I am not in Cuba. Instead I am sitting here at my computer in Toronto. I am certain this is not Cuba although I have to admit I have experienced moments over the last 24 hours where I was not entirely uncertain that I was not actually still asleep in my bed and in the middle of a bad dream. Our plane left without us, 11 hours PRIOR to the scheduled departure time. While our plane was jetting down the runway and taking off into the air we were sound asleep in our bed, dreaming of our trip which was not meant to depart until much later that afternoon.
To make a long story short we spent the entire day with our stress levels through the roof, either on the phone fighting with the travel agency or in a panic waiting for someone to call us back with further information. It should have been settled within the first hour but it took them 7 hours to admit they fucked up and to book us for the next flight, at no extra cost (in addition to ruining our holiday and freaking us out they wanted to charge us $700 more than we paid to rebook), an entire week later. Flights to our destination only leave weekly and when we checked on other airlines there were none. They wanted to send us to Varadero instead. A consolation prize that we pay for. We did not want to go to Varadero. I would rather poke my eyeballs with a stick than spend my hard-earned money on a week in Varadero.
So now we're here, feeling surreal and confused looking at our empty fridge and our packed bags wondering what to do with ourselves. We were so excited about this trip we could taste it; counting down the days until departure; high-fiving each other regularly like we'd accomplished an amazing feat; excitedly making plans for each day, each hour of our trip. We had just spent a week working like mad to prepare to leave and be away from Xmas and now we are here trying to figure out how to fill the next seven days, how to rearrange the next two weeks, coming to terms with being here for the holidays when we thought we'd escaped.
It could be worse. I know things could be a lot worse. I've lived through a hell of a lot worse. At least we have enough money to put more food in our empty fridge. At least we we able to forgo the unpaid days needed to rebook the trip. At least we have the hope of going next week. But I need this trip. I knew I needed it when I booked the flight and I really knew how much I needed it when I found out that plane had gone without us. There were many hours yesterday when we were sure the whole thing had fallen out from underneath us entirely. There were moments when it seemed certain that we'd be spending the next week looking online at other people's photos, trying to place ourselves in the pictures like a ghetto virtual reality machine. That did not feel good.
I am having a hard time mustering up the anticipation and excitement I felt when I was in this position of looking forward a week ago. I'm too scared the whole thing won't happen to be that free and easy with my emotions. Maybe in a few more days I will come around and resume the countdown, the high-fiving and the anticipation. Or maybe once I am on the plane and the plane lifts from the runway and is in the air and it is certain that we are actually on our way and not at home in bed dreaming of a trip meant to leave later that day rather than 11 hours earlier than the scheduled departure time like a real-life version of "Groundhog Day", maybe THEN I will come around to the level of excitement I have been freely feeling for the last week and pass around a high-five or two.