Hello, my fellow romantics,
For many of you, today is a day filled with anxiety. I have honestly been a little lost for words lately. I don’t think there is anything I can say that will make you feel less afraid or angry. Things just are really scary and/or frustrating in many places around the world today.
I can share my stories, though. I hope they will be valuable to you in some way, whatever way. I decided today was a good day to share a first glimpse of my new, upcoming story ‘Worth The Risk.’ (Formerly known as ‘Project Ghent.’
I want to thank B, who has inspired me to write this story by holding me accountable and speaking their truth. And I want to thank M, who’s been very supportive and generous while giving me feedback on this script. Thank you both for making me a better person and a better writer.
Please stay safe.
PS: That M is not Muriel. But I am very grateful to Muriel too, of course. As always, she’s my rock *and* my most demanding critic! 💜
Raven hated flying. She had been on countless flights, but still had never gotten used to it. She was good at navigating airports, though. She had also become an expert at packing, making good use of every square inch of her carry-on.
Pulling her trusted suitcase behind her now, a sense of discomfort settled over Raven. There was a different vibe at this particular airport. There was something very different about the place. Maybe because it was on a different continent?
She grimaced. The fabric of her face mask shifted over the parts of her skin that already felt raw. She would have to apply some cocoa butter later. Maybe it wasn’t the place where she had landed, but how she had to travel these days.
This was the first time Raven had boarded a plane since the pandemic had started. An airplane cabin had been a suffocating place before. Now? Now, it felt like an airborne prison.
Her fellow passengers had all regarded each other with suspicious eyes above their masks, and sometimes from behind their plastic face shields. Raven couldn’t wait to leave all the suspicion and anxiety behind her.
The local time was around 5PM. There would be daylight for at least another few hours. Maybe she could go for a walk later. The thought of breathing in fresh air and exploring a new city on a summer evening lifted her spirits.
Raven squinted at the signs attached to the ceiling. She followed the arrows that guided her to the passport check for non-EU citizens. Unfortunately, the line already stretched all the way into the next hallway.
People stood waiting in boxes that were marked on the ground with red tape. An officer with a dog, a large Shepard with aggressive eyes, walked up and down the line, making sure everyone abided by the rules.
Raven’s shoulders tightened. She hurried to the first available box, keeping her carry-on close. Her phone started ringing just as she stopped 6 feet behind the last person in line.
Raven slipped her hand under the silk scarf that covered her hair and answered the phone with a quick tap on the airpod in her right ear.
“Why so formal?”
Raven smiled. It was good to hear her sister’s voice. “I didn’t see it was you.”
“At least you’re alive,” Jazmine said, not hiding her annoyance.
“I was going to call you any minute now. I just landed,” Raven replied.
“How was the flight?”
“Suffocating,” Raven said, staring at the line in front of her. It wasn’t moving.
“There was no need to do that to yourself,” Jazmine sighed.
“Let’s no go there again,” Raven warned her older sister.
“And all for a silly dream,” Jazmine continued anyway.