I knew spending the night at Frankfurt’s airport was likely my only option. I couldn’t be bothered with the logistics of getting into town, finding a hostel or hotel, getting back to the airport … it just was not something I had any desire to put myself through.
I was so close to being home.
I wandered through the terminal, eyeing possible places to sleep. In the middle of the terminal was a large area of leather lounge chairs, each one filled with the body of a sleeping or near-sleeping soon-to-be passenger.
I hit the Samsung stand (thank you sleepinginairports.com for the advice) to check my e-mail. For free. Then, I took myself to dinner.
For two hours, I sat in the restaurant, eating slowly, drinking slowly, wishing for 10 a.m. and to be sitting on my flight back to America. Not because I had any desire to go back to America — I didn’t — but because all I wanted was to see my mom and dad.
A wave of exhaustion hit me.
I would pay good money to sleep in a posh hotel bed.
Across the terminal was an airport hotel, and I grabbed my belongings and walked over there to see if there were any rooms.
Entierly sold-out. Damn.
I walked back to the terminal and began to do my own interpretation of Goldilocks.
First, I parked myself in a lounge chair. I grabbed my black scarf and draped it over my eyes to block out the bright florescent lights.
Then, I went and laid down on the cold tile floor.
Nope. Too loud.
Then, I wandered down the terminal to a hall in the shopping area with a few metal benches.
There was only one free bench. The others were occupied with people who were sleeping already.
I had ditched most of my belongings in Trogir, so the towel I had used the first time in Belgium’s airport was no longer in my bag.
I grabbed my sundress I had purchased in Bulgaria and threw it over me, resting my head of my not-so-comfortable messenger bag.
It was hard to sleep there. It was painful. It was cold. But, it was where I decided to pass out.
My mind took me home … filling me with images of happy and sad and fear.
Happy to be home. Sad for my loss. Fear of being back in America.
The next morning, I was up at 5 a.m. Starbucks had just opened. I grabbed a coffee and a snack and sat there for an hour, just staring into space.
Still feeling numb. Still feeling sad. Still feeling like a zombie.
Then, I went to go get breakfast a few hours later.
Airports in Europe aren’t like airports in America. Typically, the departure screens don’t tell you what gate your flight leaves from until two hours before. I lucked out. And, three hours before my flight was leaving, the gate appeared on the screen.
Overjoyed, I quickly cleared passport control and took over a cushioned bench and passed out for an hour.
When they made the announcement it was time to board the flight back to America, it hit me.
D, your trip is over. You are going home.