Chapter 1 – Extract 3 from The Paradise Induction!
“Chris. Chris, it’s your father,” a voice said.
“What? What?” he replied as he woke. The tube was now crowded with people carrying varying size suitcases.
His mother handed him her phone. “It’s your father.”
He took the phone and sighed. “Hey dad.”
“Hey son,” he said. “So this is it? The big one.”
“Yeah,” Chris mumbled.
“Well, good luck son. I’m sure it will all fall into place. Just take care of yourself out there, okay?”
“Thanks dad, and I hope it all does. I really do.”
“Alright, well see you soon.”
“See you dad.”
Chris felt sick as he handed the phone back to his mother. See you soon? his mind questioned. What a lie.
He wouldn’t be seeing his father anytime soon if things went to plan and that hurt…a lot.
He let his head slump against the seat. The fatigue had been helpful in depleting his energy, draining his strength to cry.
The sign Heathrow, flickered in front of him between the windows of the moving tube before he could retreat to the sanctuary of sleep.
“We’re here,” his mother said.
He grabbed his bags and they headed out of the cramped underground. His heart rate was slow, but each thud was the drum beat of impending doom.
He was doing this. He was acting on a decision he’d made when he was fifteen years old!
If things aren’t working out in London by the time I’m twenty-five, I’ll leave the country.
Saying it, thinking it, telling people about it – that had been easy.
Now, every step Chris took as they made their way to Heathrow Check-In was like walking on an electrified floor, shocking him each time his foot landed. He was fulfilling a vow from ten years prior; a promise he’d hoped he’d never have to complete.
The meandering Check-In queue was quick and lucky; his luggage weighed right on limit, but it was to be expected that it would be heavy. After all, he was carrying his life with him. The busy airport’s people were invisible to him as his mind pressed in what he was doing; he was leaving his family; his mother.
He continued with the Check-In procedure; his hand luggage was allowed and as soon as he heard permission to move on through, his world stopped. It was all done.
He stood at the barrier of the airport where his mother couldn’t pass.
Her eyes glistened and he held his head down. They both released a muffled “goodbye” without hugging, knowing that it would be too painful to do so.
He wouldn’t be coming back to live in London ever again. This was part of his oath ten years ago. It would be the Caribbean, then maybe the United States. But never London again. This was his big escape. His chance to start again anew and erase his failed life of the past.
He walked through the gate.
It was finished.