At 11:36 I looked at the time on my cell phone. I had already ignored the two alarms I’d set and by the looks of it my Sister had as well. She was rolled up in the comforter next to me, her mouth a little open and sending out a shushing noise every other second or so. “Wha time issit?” Always surprises me the ease with which she can go from sleeping to functioning.
The previous night I surprised myself by getting into an argument in Italian, this has been a goal of mine since I decided to learn the language, this argument was about racism in Italy. The two Sardinians were sitting across from me in the living room of a friend; M was just sitting back watching me with a slight grin but the other was laying out sentences that begged to be interrupted. We switched between Italian and English and took sips of cheap wine between overly dramatic scoffs.
I jump in the shower not giving the day ahead of me much thought; I’d given it enough these past few weeks. I felt like I was betraying someone by moving to Berlin. Myself I suppose, I’d been answering questions for years with far off glances and sighs ending in smiles, and the answer had always been Italy. I had learned Italian, after all, I was finally being invited in to stay, and now I was going.
My head and my stomach ached; all I wanted to do was curl into a ball on the floor in the spot of sun from the window. My Sister convinced me to eat, which was helpful later on the train when I was vomiting every half hour. I think seeing it hit the tracks as we sped along made it worse. I’m beginning to loath Trenitalia bathrooms. I still love riding the trains though, listening in on conversations and simultaneously wondering about destinations with strangers. I’m sure I gave the people sitting next to me plenty to wonder about.
When I arrived at the Milan Train Station I paced back and forth three times before making up my mind. I would buy some bread, make myself eat it, and it will make me feel better. I could only get two bites down. My forehead had a layer of cold sweat and I’d never seen my hands shake like this. The fresh air felt nice and I started to think the worst was over; I walked with a bit more confidence towards the bus.
Oh the bus. It was like the fung wah or lucky star, except this bus had no bathroom and instead of Chinese food it smelled like bad cologne and olive oil. I swallowed hard as I paid for my ticket. If I wasn’t better and I was going to get sick again…NO I was all better, I would just sleep the whole ride and be fine.
Nope, I wasn’t fine.
While sitting amongst some of the most attractive men I’d ever seen on public transportation I, Lucy Huffman, while wishing as hard as I could to not puke, puked all over myself. It was about a half hour into the ride. The worst part was I was looking up when it happened, using some of my worst logic ever I had thought with my head up the puke would stay down. Wrong. Thankfully because I couldn’t eat it was only water and two bites of bread but, it was still puke and it had gotten on my face, on my coat, and a little in my lap. Everyone was trying really hard not to stare at me. Especially the really attractive guy sitting in front of me who I think, I shudder as I say this, may have gotten some on his sweater.
There is a moment just after something that embarrassing happens where everyone swallows the initial reaction to react. I teared up and felt my face get hot, then stared at the ground to not think for a second. Someone placed something on my knee. All the men around me had gotten out their tissues; some people were passing them forward from the back. I didn’t dare look up but I felt myself instinctively mumble ‘grazie.’
It wasn’t that bad, things like that rarely are for more than a few minutes. I changed into an extra shirt I had in my bag and using a big bottle of water with the tissues I cleaned myself up. Later, the guy in front of me turned around and asked if I was ok, my head tilted and nodded trying to say, ‘ok as a girl who just puked on herself can be.’ He seemed to regret asking and slumped back in his seat, I felt like telling him I was sorry but that just seemed silly.
Once we got to the airport, two and a half hours before my flight, I went to the bathroom and spent the next half hour changing, cleaning myself up, and making a long list of reasons why it wasn’t that bad. I drank another liter of water and found some food that didn’t gross me out as well as a plastic bag for the flight, just in case. I was still pretty shaky but I felt better.
As I arranged my coat and bag in the plane I noticed a familiar face four rows back. It was the guy that was sitting in front of me on the bus, the first to give me his tissues and ask me if I was ok. He looked at me for a second and I feel like we both tried really hard to not have the bus experience be the reason we knew each other, but it was. I winced. He smiled a huge grin, then I smiled and we took our seats as the only two people on the plane laughing about the absurdity of the same moment.