The weeks preceding Susan’s departure from Toronto (and her arrival back home in Regina) she met up with as many people as she could to say goodbye. They did nails and she hosted meals or met up with friends for coffee and marriage advice (which according to Diane, a seasoned marriage affiliate, involves having a great deal of sex and praying God will sanctify whatever it is they were doing). Susan’s days were spent reading Tamora Pierce, trying to stay cool and grocery shopping for the evenings she was hosting. On the final Sunday, Susan’s church prayed for her, asked God to bring her back again and/or to release her to wherever He would have her go. She said goodbye to as many people as she could.
Susan was at the airport in time but but her baggage was too heavy and the lady wouldn’t accept it. So Susan took out her scale from Los Angeles and a pair of sandals, put them in very large plastic bag and carried it around with her like a hobo. She narrowly missed her flight by a couple of minutes. The guy at the kiosk helped her find a plane ride home. Apparently, a number of flights were cancelled the day before. Susan can’t remember why. However, she was surprised she got a spot so quickly given the number of people it affected. Tornado Greg was also waiting to find a flight out west, too. He dressed up his coffee next to Susan in the airport lobby.
“This coffee is hotter than lava,” he said.
Susan has never touched lava but she assumed Tornado Greg knew what he was talking about. Plus, the coffee was abnormally hot.
“Yes,” she said, “Very hot.”
The flight was smooth and the lady she was seated next to was chatty and friendly. When they touched down, Susan’s checked her phone and her emails. She found her luggage which arrived before on the missed flight. The scent of nail polish was emanating from her luggage so she knew something exploded mid-flight. She’d deal with it later.
The wind greeted her first when she arrived. It gushed all around her, flipping her hair and inflating her asthmatic lungs, from top to bottom, with the first fresh breath of air she’s had in months. It pushed Susan over with the excitement of their reunion. Some think the wind in Saskatchewan is too harsh but Susan just thinks it’s clumsy. Like an enthusiastic puppy who hasn’t adjusted to it’s strength or the length of it’s limbs yet.
Growing up here you gain your legs in this wind. It’ll blow you over if you don’t. So you you learn to stand with a little opposition. In the same way a sailor gains his sea-legs on the sea. A prairie girl gets her legs from the wind.
Susan’s legs were weak after Toronto. The air there is stale and breathes on it’s people the way a constipated old man wheezes on his friends without asking. Of all the things Susan misses the most about home, landscape-specific, she missed the wind the most. While waiting for her Dad to arrive, Susan did nothing but breathe. The noise of the city she left was slowly drowned out by the flutter of leaves clapping a hello.
When her dad arrived, they hugged.
He put her luggage away and dropped her off at her friend’s house, where she will be staying. That evening, Susan went to his house for supper. Dad sat in his chair while Susan cuddled up on the couch under a blanket made by Verity and Sherri, two of her mom’s best friends. They watched something British on Netflix before Susan said goodnight and went back to her friend’s apartment.
That night she slept with the window open and the cool breeze fell on her face. She couldn’t get over the sweetness in the air and laid there drinking it in. She fell fast asleep.