"We ask everyone to be seated and make sure your seatbelt is fastened. The next hour is gonna be turbulent," the stewardess said, her voice sounding slightly annoyed with us.
The airplane was completely dark, and all blinds were closed. I keep peaking over my seat to see what my neighbours are watching; I have 16 hours of travel ahead of me.
The light turns on, and the captain asks me to pack everything up and prepare for landing. Fred opens the little window blind, and the first thing I see is water; my eyes glide over it, and I stop at Manhattan. New York, there you are. My heart jumps. We are back. But today just for 3 hours.
I have already begun to watch people; I love seeing characters, styles, and people who stick out and do what they love. The girl two lines ahead of me looks down at her phone; she has no makeup but perfect eyeliner.. on her headphones around her neck are Smilie stickers on the left side, and on the right side, one sticker that says "If you can read this, you are too close." I smile. She seems to be in her own world while everyone else gets loud around us; the pass control takes time, and people get impatient.
"Take off your glasses and look into the camera, "the security by the pass control says to Fred. "Lay your right hand up there, 4 fingers. Thump. Lat it flat on the screen. Yes. Other Hand. No. 4 fingers first, then the thump". I wait behind Fred. I am nervous. Getting your mugshot and leaving your fingerprints, it feels like I am in a movie. "NEEEEXT".
I stare into the camera and watch him take my pass and papers; I hope everything is okay. I had many problems with my German passport before; some could not scan it, and others did not believe it was me. In New York City, I would like to avoid the sentence, "Mam, we can't read your papers. Please step aside". Instead, he said, "Wie geht es dir heute," and looked up at me. I laugh nervously and say, "Sehr gut," What's a lie. I am nervous, tired, and exhausted. "Und dir"? I ask like a reflex more than a question I mean serious. "Ich bin müde," he answered with his American accent and smiled back at me. "Pretty photo. I see that you need your bodyguard." he nodded to Fred, smiled, and returned my papers. "NEXT". I start walking; Fred looks at me - why did you not scan your fingerprints? His eyes ask me. I had no clue, but let's get our luggage and catch our next flight to Denver, Colorado.... Good bye New York, for now...
..We sit at the shuttle bus station that brings us to the rental cars. In front of me, the sun goes down, and I see the silhouette of mountains. It looks like we landed in the desert.
After two hours, we stood in more lines and waiting areas before our jeep. It's dark now, and I can feel the heaviness of exhaustion coming over me. 16 hours in planes and airports. There is no way I could drive a car for 4 hours now to the final destination. The lights of the other vehicles are blinding me, and the speedy cars passing us make me more and more nervous. The roads are dark apart from the moving lights all around us. I feel dizzy. After one hour, we stopped, and I saw a sign on the left of the street:" MOTEL." Fred only needed a little convincing to stop there and get a room that night. The roads aren't safe tonight, and we do not want to risk anything now.
A Motel, I've definitely watched too many movies. I tried to close the door behind me and saw tape all over it. The lock seems old. Feeling not much safer than on the road, I step into the room. The yellowish walls greed me, and the air smells old. But with the sun down and my lack of sleep, I started to shiver - I was cold and just wanted under my blanket; I did not care about the air. We are located at the heart of Idaho Springs. But all I see is darkness, and all I feel is my tired body.
It was 4 in the morning when I woke up. I feared getting sick or feeling under the weather after the long flight; before falling asleep, I took a pill against headaches and fever.
While I think about getting my phone and listening to an audiobook or even my laptop to write a little bit, I fall asleep again until I wake up from loud voices. Two men discussing in our bedroom - well, it sounded like that. Right outside our little backdoor, the walls are definitely thin.
I climb out of my big double bed and grab my laptop. Fred is still sleeping, but after the computer starts with a loud DIDIDUUUM, he is also awake. We feel rested and better, but coffee is needed. Fred jumps under the shower, not a very good one, and after it runs to the reception. We open the back door. The two men are gone now, but we see for the first time what surrounds us. A river flows right before us, and behind are rocky mountains or hills. The sun is warming my face while I sit and drink my coffee with a view.