It was cool outside. Even so, most of the guests were still in the garden. Some danced, the others warmed up under the heat lamps. In the meantime, table groups had formed. I had danced enough and knew no one so well just to sit down with someone. I didn't want to disturb Alejandro because he was busy courting an old flame from his youth. So I went to the kitchen.
The kitchen was a place where the family meet. I sit down at the big table. Soon someone spoke to me and I didn't feel so alone anymore. The person I was talking to wanted to know how long I would stay. I told him that I was flying back on Tuesday even though I wanted to stay 10 more days.
«Then how do you fly back? Europe is completely closed! », He said."I know," I replied. «That's why I changed my flight. I fly to London and from there to Zurich. »
«I just heard that Trump has now declared England and Ireland a restricted area. »
This was the first time that I got scared. Everything that I had displaced so far was so obviously in front of me that I could no longer look away. I quickly looked at my cell phone. Yes, that was true. London was also closed. From Monday. Now it was Saturday. My existing ticket was for Tuesday. I had to act quickly. Unfortunately, I was 3 hours by car from Los Angeles and couldn’t drive back until tomorrow. The attempt to rebook my flight from Tuesday to Sunday failed. It didn't go online. My English was not good enough to call the hotline. I went looking for Alejandro. He was still with the same woman. Probably something was looming. But I couldn't be considerate of them. I was beginning to panic. Alejandro and I looked for a quiet place in the house. I explained the situation to him. He called the hotline. We got into the queue - waiting time 2 hours.
«Book a new flight while you get one, » he said. «You can cancel the existing one later. »
That was good advice. I got a ticket to London for the next day at 6:30 p.m. There were still flights to Zurich from London. At twice the price, of course. But I didn't care. I wanted to do everything to get home as quickly as possible. Even if I hadn't gotten a flight to Zurich, I would still have flown to London. When you are over the ocean, you are almost at home. In the worst case, my husband could fetch me by car.
«But how do I get to LA now? » I asked Alejandro.
«I'm driving you, » he said with absolute certainty.
«I cannot accept that. This is your birthday party», I replied. «You can't get out of here. It's only 10 p.m. »
«Of course, I can. », he said.
I didn't like that at all, but I saw no other option and accepted his offer. We quickly said goodbye to the family and I packed my bag. At half past ten we drove in the car towards Los Angeles. Without a rush hour, the journey only took an hour and a half.
We said goodbye with a fleeting hug. Corona had me completely under control again. I felt bad because he had to leave his birthday party because of me. Apart from a big thank you and a «I'm sorry», nothing came to my mind more wisely. He went to Perris again to help his sisters clean up the next day. But he wanted to come back to drive me to the airport. I declined the offer. I wanted to take the taxi.
I quickly packed my bags, although I could stay in the hotel until the afternoon, I wanted to be ready. If something came up and I had to go earlier. My cell phone was running hot. All relatives and friends wanted to know how I was doing and whether I was stuck somewhere. That made me very nervous. The fear grew. Will i reach my house? Or do I end up in a quarantine somewhere on the way?
The only consolation was Alejandro's offer he made me on the way to LA.
«If the flight is not possible, I'll drive you to Mexico by car, » he said. «So far there has been one Corona case. From there you can still fly anywhere. »
Thank you Alejandro for this generous offer! That helped me alot. Having a plan B is for me always very comforting. I hope I will be able to return the favor to you someday, dear friend.
To be continued…