I didn’t feel much in the run up to leaving. I think I was in denial. It was easier to just keep moving forward and not think about what we were leaving behind, but then in the last minutes I wobbled. Watching Alula say goodbye to her best friend was one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve ever seen. But it was also a lesson in how to say goodbye. They giggled and laughed for 45 minutes then did a spit swear that they’d see each other again and then made up a special handshake. Surely that’s the way to do it?
In the car on the way to the airport I felt like I was in a particularly vivid dream slash nightmare, my brain struggling to compute, throwing out an increasingly panicked litany of thoughts. This the last time you’ll drive this road. This is the last time you’ll see Mount Agung. This is your last Balinese sunset. This is the last time you’ll play car Kamikaze with Komang.
It won’t be the last time I told myself sternly. I will come back, even if just for a holiday.
I won’t miss the drivers. Or the potholes, Alula announced from the back seat. Ever the pragmatist. She seemed to be dealing with leaving a whole lot better than me.
It won’t be until you’re on the plane that you’ll cry, everyone told me.
I got on the plane. I sat in my seat, heart pounding thanks to the litres of adrenaline that have been flooding my system for the last four days as the future started to collide with increasing velocity into the present.
And the plane took off and I closed my eyes and I expected to cry but I didn’t. Instead the only thought in my head, clear as a clanging bell, was ‘Yes. This is absolutely the right thing to do.’
And in the deepest part of my belly I felt a flutter of excitement because I knew I’d just thrown open the door to the next adventure.