After weeks of stressing about the impending departure and today’s awful, tear-filled farewell, I flew out on EK435 at a little after 2100 AEST.
It is 0335 UAE time. The flight from Brisbane has been almost pleasant – I was miraculously upgraded to Business Class and have just woken after 6 hours sleep that followed a meal of duck washed down with a cheeky French red. To while away some time I took in a movie. Despite weeks of resistance, I finally gave in and watched ‘Avatar’. I wish I hadn’t.
Visually brilliant but I could not escape the feeling that I was stuck in a 2 hour 42 minute lecture by an ageing liberal with an over-inflated sense if his own importance. Any wonder ‘The hurt locker’ took best picture.
I had been on the flight perhaps a little under an hour when I’m sure I had a mild panic attack. It finally sunk in that I won’t see L and the kids again for 10 weeks, and the realisation literally took my breath away, increased my heart rate and left me with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
10 weeks. Bloody hell! I’m flapping that the kids will suffer somehow without me there to call on when there’s a problem with homework, a bump in the night, a scraped knee or jar that needs opening. Might they simply get used to living without me? Not need me anymore? The thought terrifies me.
And L: what about her? I’m not worried on the same level I am with the kids but it’s going to be tough on her. What, with the new business to grow and the kids to nurture and generally just hold things together, it’s going to be a big ask. She wont have me there for our 7-second-hugs when she’s feeling small. She can do it, I know, but I feel guilty I won’t be there to help.
In fact, that seems to be the predominant emotion right now. Guilt. I can’t help questioning whether I have been supremely selfish in taking this job and, in doing so, leaving my wife and children at a time (nothing specific, just ‘time’) when I should be there to guide and hug and chastise and teach and protect and love and grump and all those things a dad is supposed to do.
The cabin crew are wheeling out the trollies. Another Emirates breakfast at 37000′ with a little over an hour before arrival.