I sigh, "Mum
, it's going to be fine. I'll be on the next flight out tomorrow," I try to explain yet again to her. "You just need to relax, I'll be home soon. I promise."
I could hear her arguing with my dad in the background about flight times and picking me up. Obviously this is being the worst thing at the moment. We were all being told to leave our current country of residence and to return home.
I have been living in New York for the past year, it was hard enough to find a job here, let alone a place to live, and now I have to give it all up. At least I didn't have to pay for the flight to go back home, back to London. I guess that was a minor positive.
"Are you safe?" My mum asks me, almost whispering as if it were illegal to even ask me that. I close my eyes and pinch the bridge of my nose.
"Yes." I lie. Truth be told, I wasn't safe. People outside had started small riots, picking fights, setting things on fire. And over what? A small disagreement between our national leaders? It was a joke. I had been in hiding for past week because my neighbour in my apartment complex had tried to pick a fight with me, saying I didn't belong and I ruined "their" country.
"I don't want you to worry about me, I'll be home tomorrow and we can figure out everything else. I'm safe, I'm okay." I try to calm mum down, hoping my voice was stable enough to be a little convincing. I stand up and walk to my blocked window, pushing my curtain to the side a tiny bit so I can look out.
It was quiet today, no fighting, no fires. Nothing. It was almost peaceful, as if it were back to normal. I move away, not wanting people to see me here. Especially when I was meant to have already been gone, they had given me a warning just a few days ago about it.
"I have to go mum, I need to get to the airport. I love you." I said, already missing her and her voice.
"Be safe honey, please, please call me as soon as you land. We'll get you," mum says, I could hear her choking up a little. My dad in the background yelled out bye and we hung up.
A few hours had passed and I was in the airport, sitting alone among the many seats surrounding me. I looked down, not making eye contact with anyone. I tuck my hair behind my ears and hold my boarding pass tightly, not wanting to lose this, my only opportunity to finally go home. I take one deep breath and think to myself, you're going home, you can see your parents and your brother again. Don't be nervous.
"The two thirty non stop flight to London is now boarding, please line up and have your passes ready," the lady announced with a thick Boston accent. I take one final deep breath and walk towards her, ticket in my hand and my bag securely on me.
There are only about twenty of us for this flight, which isn't much. I'm guessing we're some of the last people to leave the country. The people who went weeks before us had been in the thousands, fleeing as soon as we got told to get out but two of those planes had been taken down. Every single person died.
I hand my ticket over, smiling weakly at the lady and walk through the cold doors and down the even colder hallway. I look behind me and a man with sandy brown hair smiled at me, I turn my head back and keep walking.
I go to my seat and put my bag in the storage above me, taking out my purse, earphones and book. It isn't a long flight but I know I won't be able to sleeping during it, not with my anxiety level going through the roof. The man with the sandy brown hair sits in the seat in front of me, he puts his seat belt on straight away and I do the same.
"Almost home," I whispered to myself and look out the window. It's grey, almost raining but it is the middle of autumn. I'm going to miss the New York atmosphere, the fashion, the people, even the smell. I loved it here. But I love my home too and my family.
I scan around the plane, looking at other people on the flight. One woman looks back at me and turns away, she's pale. She must be nervous too. At the back sits a man, clearly the security to make sure we all get off the plane. He's wearing completely black sunglasses and ignores all of us, he looks like he's the same age as me.
"Please fasten your seat belts and we will begin take off shortly." The captain announces and there's an unanimous click that sounds.
"Are you okay?" The man in front of me asks, his English accent being thick. I smile slightly and nod my head, "I'm not good with flights," I respond to him.
"Me either but we're almost home, yeah?" He sympathises towards me, I let out a soft laugh and lean into my seat.
"Almost," I quietly say and open my book. The plane starts to move slowly, I quickly text my mum and tell her we're leaving and that I love her.
The pilot took off a minute after that, I close my eyes and swallow all my nerves. You're safe, you're safe. I chant in my head over and over, slightly believing myself. Then the air masks come down, I look around and see people holding it against their nose and mouth.
It looks as if they've passed out.
The man at the back stands up, checking on the people near him to see if they're okay then nods towards the front of the cabin. They start to force people to put the masks on, making them breath whatever is in it and I watch their lifeless bodies just sit there, breathing very shallow.
The man turns towards me, I try to rip the mask off the board above me so I wouldn't be forced to breath it in. I push him away but he doesn't move at all. I look up at him, breathing heavily and tell him to get away but he doesn't. He grabs my shoulders and shoves me further into my seat then holds my air mask to my face so I hold my breath. My eyes start to close as I fight trying to stay conscious then without thinking, I take a breath.
Then everything goes black.