"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Toronto. It is currently 1:30 in the afternoon and a pleasant 30 degrees outside. On behalf of myself and the crew, I'd like to thank you for flying Air Canada today and I hope you enjoy your stay in Toronto."
Jude thought she was going to be sick. Actually, the slight feeling of nausea had started over a month ago when she'd first gotten the phone call from Sadie that she was "desperately and completely needed" back in Toronto to help plan the wedding to end all weddings and it hadn't abated. She felt sick when she sat in the studio attempting to come up with a new song, a new melody and new anything and it had remained there when she went out to clubs and award shows and charity events. Actually, the only time she hadn't felt sick was when she was asleep and then the nausea was overtaken by nightmares filled with Beatles references, motorcycles, church bells and all sorts of nonsense. She didn't want to go back to Toronto. She loved London. London was home now and, even though she hadn't written a new song in months and her record company was breathing down her back to get "inspired," she hadn't wanted to leave. Toronto was no longer home and Jude, quite frankly, hoped that it stayed that way.
The plane continued its slow taxi down the runway and Jude's desire to puke up everything she had eaten in the last 6 years increased. 'Oh god,' she thought, sweat starting to bead on her brow, 'this was such a bad idea. Why didn't I just tell Sadie she could plan her own wedding and I'd show up on time to walk down the aisle as Maid of Honor?' Jude laughed out loud at the thought of telling Sadie 'no.' Her sister was a force of nature and, if Jude was honest, she had missed having Sadie's advice and forceful urging in her daily life. If Jude was being honest, she was stuck and she knew it and Toronto could be just the restart that she needed. But now was no time for honesty, now was time for panic.
"Honey, you know the plane has landed, I don't think you have to worry anymore about an accident."
"What?" said Jude, looking over at the older woman in the seat across the aisle who was leaning over and looking at her with concern in her eyes.
"You've been looking a little nervous the entire plane ride, well, except the parts you slept through after that glass of wine, but now you look completely terrified. We're almost at the gate so, as my late husband liked to say, the nightmare is just beginning. Harold was such a joker sometimes."
"Harold might have been telling the truth and I'm fine, really, just a little nervous about seeing everyone."
"You're from Toronto?"
"Born and raised. I've been living in London the past 6 years though and I haven't been in Toronto, let alone Canada, since I left."
"Well then, I'm sure your family and friends are just dying to see you - I've only been away a week and my children and grandchildren are practically begging me to come home. 6 years? That's a long time to be away from home."
"Right now I'm not sure it has been long enough." The seatbelt sign clicked off and Jude, with a smile and a quick "have a good one," grabbed her bags and made her way off the plane. No point in delaying now, she was in Toronto and she wasn't going to be leaving until after the wedding if Sadie had her way and she almost always did. She smiled at the flight attendants and the pilot as she shuffled off the plane and towards the exit. Once Jude was out of the gate, she sailed through immigration, celebrity having some perks as she was guided towards the baggage claim by a security guard and an airline staffer. She was stopped a couple of times by fans, signing a couple of autographs and waving off pictures, before finding herself standing in front of the baggage carousel watching as bag after bag went by, none of them hers.
"Ms. Harrison, on behalf of Air Canada, I'd like to apologize for the misplacing of your bags. They are -"
"Please don't tell me they are still in London, please, it'll just be another sign that I should still be in London and not here and I really can't deal with this right now."
"Well, your bags are not in London…" winced the staffer, a petite brunette who had only moments earlier been so pleased to be escorting a famous rock star through the airport. Jude sighed, long and hard, before forcing herself to smile. This was not a sign. This was not a sign. "They're actually currently on their way to Japan but they will be immediately routed here upon their arrival in Tokyo and brought to your front door. Once again, Air Canada is very sorry for the inconvenience."
"It's fine," sighed Jude, pushing her bangs off her forehead in frustration. "When exactly can I expect my bags?"
"A day, maybe two. It takes awhile to get from Tokyo to Toronto and they may have to change planes if there isn't a direct flight but they will be with you as soon as possible."
"Great, just great. Well, I'm going to give you the address I'm staying at and then I'm going to go and meet my sister so have a good one." Jude quickly scrawled out her sister's address and thanked god that she had thought to pack an extra pair of underwear in her carry-on bag. It was no problem, she'd just have to go shopping and she was currently missing her favorite boots and jeans and jacket and everything that would have made her first few days in Toronto bearable but it was fine, really, just fine.
Jude hustled out of the baggage claim area and towards the gate - she was nauseous, dirty, smelly and now completely pissed off and all she wanted was to find her sister and hug her until it was all over and she was safely back in her apartment in London. She saw her then, a tall flash of blonde hair, and Jude let out a sigh of relief. Sadie was here and it would all be okay. Flash.