Long has it been since I saw your chiseled face and ochre teeth. Is it 2 years? 3 years even? So, here I am. At 30,000 feet. Coming back. Back to you, Australia.
The drawls of the Qantas flight attendants wield and soar about the cabin until they slam into my ears like sledgehammers. It’s not an altogether unpleasant sensation. These accents shocking, yet soothing. Foreign, yet familiar. Ah, that’s it. They’re normal. I grin and my cheeks bobble with love.
The flight attendants converge in a huddle behind me, talking cricket and football to the ‘I’m-traveling-alone-at-11-years-old’ child. I grin like an idiot as they give him hell—quite rightly—about being a Collingwood supporter. Oh, the voices of my people. Strong, casual, confident. Happy.
Are their accents really that strong, or is it just so long since I’ve heard a bunch of Aussies together? Does Qantas hire them for their ocker-ness? When I talk at work, surrounded by Americans, do I sound like that?
I stretch out and wriggle my toes in my complimentary in-flight socks. Still grinning. I’m coming home to visit you, my darling, Oz. It’s all I’ve talked about for the last two weeks, and now, after winging my way across the USA to Los Angeles, I’ve finally boarded my flight. Six hours down. Fourteen to go.
The flight is pretty empty. I have three seats to myself. When lunch comes around, my first thought is to ask about beer. They have VB. Flashes of university rush into my memory cinema and flood the screen. Ah, Victoria Bitter. Not my favorite, but I ask for one for old time’s sake. I sip and roll it around my palate.
Yep, that’s how I remember it.
I still don’t like it that much, but there’s something about drinking it that makes me happy in this moment. I take a photo, polish the little blighter off, and then ask for another. After two, I switch to red wine. Then stop. Must be sensible. I don’t want you to see me legless, Oz. I don’t want you to think less of me.
I can’t sleep either. This isn’t gonna be good for the jetlag.
With much love,
Categories : Australia