24 Hours in Amsterdam
Genre: Travelog
Kategori: Novel
Paparan sejak 19 Mac 2013
Penilaian Purata:

Senarai Bab :


7.27 p.m. 10/05/2013

Victoria Station, London

“You’re coming love?”

I nodded as fast as I could, dragging my tiny luggage into the small but comfortable mini bus. I flashed a brief smile to the driver before going on board, thanking God I made it on time. Looking around for a seat, I easily noticed there were already few travellers inside, some munching on chips, some having conversation among them while few others were alone, minding their own business.

I opted for the front seat, near the driver because that’s the only seat left without having me to sit beside a stranger. I don’t really like to sit near a stranger because they either had so many questions if they are feeling friendly, or they look at you up and down as if you are from another planet while maintaining their distance.

In short, I don’t like them. They scare me in a way I couldn’t fathom, and they continue to annoy me when I finished being scared of them.

Few minutes later we were on the move, with an assuring and friendly reminder from the driver about us stopping at Baker Street later on to get a few more passengers. I don’t really have any problem with that, as long as the passenger did not choose the empty seat beside me.

Maybe its sheer luck, I don’t know, but there were only two additional passengers boarding at Baker Street when we get there and none picked the seat next to me. I felt so relieved that it felt so much easier to breathe, that it felt like I hit a jackpot.

It was drizzling slightly as we moved down the street, heading towards Stansted. The traffic flow was just nice, enabling us to have a smooth journey.

I think we were travelling around 60 miles per hour steadily, judging from the speed of the bus. Not that I am complaining, but I had few reservation about buses and speeding. I remember back in my hometown there were so many tragedies involving buses that over sped. The consequences are not a good one, particularly on rainy days.

Shaking off the bad thoughts, I shifted my focus back to the road, thinking about this little adventure I am committing into.

This is not like me at all. I use to hate travelling anywhere alone. Be it back home or here. I hated being lonely and yet here I am, alone. I told myself I needed this, but as the bus neared my destination, I am having doubts. Can I survive this?

As these thoughts crisscrossed my mind, the bus passed the vast Olympic Park near Stratford. The quiet park, which had been packed with athletes from all over the world, including those from my beloved country, reminds me of my frequent visit to London during Summer Olympic 2012. I am proud to say I was a part of it during the glorious time.

Thinking about that particular joyous summer, I thought of him involuntarily. How he dashing he looked at that time, his short spiky hair, slightly tanned face paired with aviator sunglasses.

I missed him so much that it hurts, I hate him so much it made me cry.

Furiously wiping the tears away, I vowed to myself, never will I cry again for him. Never will I allow myself to cry, because of him.

I woke with a start as the driver announced we will be arriving at Stansted Airport in 10 minutes. How I fell asleep was beyond me but now I realised why people tend to sleep soundly after crying so much, after experiencing it first-hand. Thank God for that little nap too, because only God knows how refreshing I felt. It was like a huge burden lifted from my tiny shoulders in a span, oh well... Olympic Park to Stansted?

As Stansted Airport came into view, I collected all my belongings, carefully checking if I dropped anything out of my brown tweed jacket pocket. I also checked my luggage and bento box, carefully arranging them on the empty seat to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrive at Stansted Airport,” the driver announced as we entered the airport grounds. “Thank you for travelling with us and have a beautiful journey ahead.”

As the bus come to a halt, I grabbed my things and exited the bus after saying thank you to the driver. I saw him smile and I smiled back, knowing a smile is also a form of sadaqah.

The cool air hit me as I walked to the departure gate as fast as I could. It was hard trying to balance everything by myself, but I need to do it anyway.

Again, I felt a pang of loneliness looking at how others were walking in pairs or in groups, helping each other out if they need help. Looking at them, I let out a long sigh while quickly making my way to the departure hall.

It’s okay, I will be okay, said I in my head again and again, the words had become my personal mantra of late.

Dragging my luggage, I walked around the airport in search for a place to rest. It was hard to find one mainly because Stansted Airport is quite a small compared to other airports in London such as Heathrow or Gatwick so the seats were mostly occupied.

Since my flight will only due at 6 a.m. in the next morning, I had to find a place to rest, possibly and preferably away from others. Stansted Airport is still lacking a proper prayer room, so that means I had to find a place secluded enough for me to perform my prayers without getting disturbed by passers-by.

Spending a night at an airport is quite common for students and I had chance to experience it too last year, when a group of friend and I were going back to Malaysia for summer holiday. But again, I had friends back then and we watched each other’s back. Now, I am all alone, I had to watch over my own being, and to be honest, I need practice in that department. Maybe I could start now.

Suddenly I felt shivers down my spine, which was definitely not caused by the weather. I looked around, feeling a bit spooked but my fears dampened down somehow when I saw two policemen walking by doing their night patrol. They looked at me and smiled, so I smiled back, not wanting to look weird or worse, suspicious.

After few minutes trying to figure out where to rest, I spotted a place near the empty boarding gate. There was a power socket, which I desperately need to keep my mobile phone charged, even though I am not turning it on since I boarded the bus in Cardiff. I planned not to until I got back unless there is an emergency.

I plopped down on the floor and began to stack my luggage nicely around me without obstructing any lane. When I finished, I looked at my watch, only to realise it was only 10 p.m.

10 hours to go, said I in my mind. Without anyone to talk to, the time seemed to pass ever so slowly, much to my exasperation.

By four o’clock in the morning, I felt as if my eyeballs going to pop out of its respective socket for trying my best to keep being awake. It was too dangerous to sleep when nobody are keeping watch my belongings. Yet I am so sleepy, my body are screaming I needed rest.

I looked around, gathered my luggage together and went into the toilet. I splashed a good amount of water, trying to get refreshed. But as soon as the water dried, my eyelids started to drop again. My head started to spin and I know I had to sleep, even only for few minutes.

As I exited the toilet, I saw few shops were opening and people swarmed around to get hot beverages and early breakfast. I joined their excitement and got myself a cuppa, enough to satisfy my need for hot drink as I sit alone at my table. I kept having micro sleep as I drank. Needless to say, I succumbed to the temptation and slept like a baby.

A voice from afar woke me up with a start. It felt as if I had slept for ages when I came to my senses. My eyes darted towards the big screen displaying the departure time. Only then I realised it was already half past 5 in the morning and my flight is boarding right now.

I picked my luggage and dashed towards the said boarding gate. My heart was pounding until I arrived just in time to queue and have my luggage checked in. There were only few people before my turn. Looks like I am the last one to arrive.

The checking went through in a breeze and the next minute I know, I was already seated in the plane.

There is no turning back.

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Senarai Bab :
Prologue | 1 | 2 |

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