Everyone said it would be hard to go back once I got home. They were right. It is tough to leave everyone I love again, tough to leave southern Ontario in the spring with the apple trees and lilacs in bloom, bright pink cherrytrees on every lawn, the days stretching out.
I watch the back of my husband's head disappear through the airport doors as I wait to go through security. Why am I doing this again? Backpack, coins, keys, shoes, USB key, squirm out of my money-belt, set the metal detector off anyway, a gentle pat down from an apologetic security guard.
I idle away the time in the airport half-heartedly browsing through the bookstore. I have an overnight British Airways flight to London, a short stopover in Heathrow, then an eight-hour flight to Nairobi. I get into Jomo Kenyatta airport at 9 pm, Nairobi time. It'll be dark then; I hope the MSF driver will be waiting for me. Did I ever program his number into my phone? I meant to. Do I have any minutes left on my phone card?
As I wait at the gate, I hear a snatch of CBC news, ".We all remember her from the SARS crises, for her leadership, dedication." Sheila Basrur has died. Sheila was a classmate, many years ago, at the University of Toronto Medical School, class of 8T2. She was one of my more famous classmates, prominent as the Medical Officer of Health for Toronto during the weird, dark days of the SARS crisis.
I didn't know Sheila well, just a nodding acquaintance really, but she would be about my age. What would it be like if it was all over now, so soon, with so many things left undone?