The border security officer at passport control greeted me with a glare, palpably unsettled by my sunshine chakra. Or maybe it was the fixed grin. She eyed me for a while and confirmed that the only real national security threat I could possibly pose involved the subjection of the Serbian population to the sight of my excessive choker adornment. One minute away from her lunch break, she ignored this resounding red flag, stamped my passport with a vengeance, and waved me off unceremoniously.
Still buzzing from the success of my revanchist plot against Ali, I ignored her impertinence and practically serenaded her with the sweetest “hvala, dovidjenja” ever uttered. Without giving her a second glance, I grand jété’d over to Baggage Carousel 2 with the poise and coordination of Margot Fonteyn’s pet ostrich*.
I was one of the first few people there, so I managed to snag some prime carousel real estate: a little plot away from people, but close to the luggage slide. I needed to subtly conduct a few stretches to physically prepare myself for the arduous task of pulling my Alaskan moose carcass containing suitcase off the conveyer belt. Understandably, I didn’t want a laugh track distracting me from this borderline Olympic pursuit. I felt practically Herculean when I managed to rush through the stretches before the other two early birds, an old woman and a tattooed backpacker, could notice.
And then, because a solar plexus deity really was rooting for me in this life, I pulled my phone out of my back pocket to join the mother of all free WiFi connections. Unfortunately however, the all-powerful server access turned out to be all for naught, because predictably, I had 0 new text messages. So I used the appropriately-deemed “Nikola Tesla WiFi” to inform the only person who cared (mom, naturally) that I had arrived safely and that I was neither impaled by the sharp peak of an Alp, nor kidnapped, Taken-style, by the largest human trafficking ring on the European continent.
I then perked up at two new Viber messages from my grandma. The first text was a standard update, assuring me that she was waiting right outside the sliding doors, well-energized on account of the excellent coffee she had just consumed. Her second text was less conventional, but it got its point across fairly well:
“#blessed”, she wrote.
Zorica Perović, ladies and gentlemen.
I didn’t have time to absorb that properly, for out of the corner of my eye, I sensed a looming shadow of shiny black plastic towering at the precipice of the baggage chute. My gargantuan luggage bag was so impossibly heavy that even the cheerful Canadian flag on the handle danced with the aggression of an exorcist as gravity dragged it forcefully towards me. If I was indeed the Hercules I thought I was, then this was the hubris kicking in: I wrestled with the bag for about 6 metres of carousel before my Olympian faculties decided to show up for their shift.
I finally hoisted the offending object over the ledge and onto the floor, which it hit with a reverberating thud, proudly announcing its arrival. A sea of eyes turned to face me, searching for the source of all the ruckus.
It appeared that I had arrived, too.
TO BE CONTINUED
*Another falsification à la artistic license. My childhood ballet idol did not, in fact, welcome a domesticated ostrich into her home at any time over the course of her full life. But if she did, she probably would have inspired the flightless bird – as she did me – to achieve great swan-like heights with flawless jété’s. Admittedly though, even as I was lost in the mid-jété reverie accounted above, I could still hear Dame Fonteyn stir in her grave.