My biggest physical scar is from E. We had been apart for about 9 months due to immigration issues. So he was stuck in Kenya and I had had to come back to Canada to support us and little E. I sent E money every week for his rent and groceries and whatever else he needed. But finally, in the new year of 2012, it had just been too long apart. Too long with just long distance calls or skyping. Too long where we had only been texting. Too long since little E had seen and felt his dad. So on a whim I got two weeks off work in January and little E and I were on our way back to Kenya for a visit.
I’m sure you can imagine that travel with small children is not the most pleasant experience. You’d be right, it’s not. But imagine traveling with a boy who’s 18 months old, on a trip that will take at least 45 hours one way. AND… throw an 18 hour straight flight from Dubai to Toronto on the way back in there. It is draining. You don’t sleep. The food you eat upsets your stomach, but even worse your kid’s. You are constantly making sure your child is ok, and not bothering anyone else. On top of the regular stressors travel brings… finding gates, catching planes, maintaining passports and other documents, carrying luggage, navigating new cities, communicating in foreign languages, sleeping in new beds/airport seats. All of that, plus a kid or two. Not my definition of glamorous to say the least.
Either way, I set out with little E tucked in a sling and my trusty bag in tow. Thankfully this trip wasn’t as eventful as my last trip with little E. he behaved exceptionally well, and the stewardesses even found me a great spot on all my flights with an extra spot for little E.
E bussed to Nairobi to meet us there. I had asked him to find us a hotel there for us to spend the night before we had to bus to his sisters house the next day. This turned out to be a Herculean task for E, which in hindsight, I should have anticipated. The hotel he found was two towns over. So he had arranged for us to take a taxi for almost two hours to the bed and breakfast place he had found. It was a cute little place, but to be honest, after being stuck on a plane, in a chair for the past two days, the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a car for another 2 hours. All I could think about were the zillion hotels we were driving past as we inched into the night.
Either way, we finally got to this secluded place. We were the only guests staying there, and because of the drive, we didn’t arrive until after midnight. It took about 15-20 minutes to rouse the guard at the gate, and then get someone awake to get us into our room.
As we were shown into our room, E was holding little E, which was great, I wanted them to bond. But it left me with the luggage, not as great. I had packed a huge hockey bag of things for E that he had asked me to bring that he needed/wanted from Canada and that thing weighed a fucking ton. Also, at some point during one of the flights, part of it has torn, exposing some metal wiring on the bottom, which I didn’t realize as I dragged it in.
I asked E to help me get the bag out of the way of the door, and as he lifted it up to throw it on the bed, the exposed wires cut a huge gash on my leg. The cut was so long and deep I learned more about the inside of my body that day than anything the magic school bus ever taught me.
It also wouldn’t stop bleeding.
At first I headed to the bathroom and just tried rinsing it off, but it kept coming, so I grabbed a shirt and tied a makeshift tourniquet around my leg. I went through 4 of E’s shirts in 6 hours during the night before the bleeding showed any signs of slowing.
I asked E to find a Dr. or somewhere we could go so I could get stitches, something that seems like I obviously needed to anyone with half a brain. But nope. E said he was to tired. What? You? I’M the one who just flew around the world with our 18 month old kid on her own. I’m the one who’s been working her ass off to support our kid and E. I’m the one who’s loosing mass amounts of blood from a cut you caused. But you’re too tired?
Ok. Thanks. I just arrived in the country. I have no phone to use, it’s about 1 or 2 in the morning, and I don’t even know what town I’m in. So I really didn’t have much choice but to wait until the morning when he wasn’t “as tired” to get help.
Well, by the morning, the bleeding had slowed and so by this point I didn’t care about getting stitches as much as I cared about getting to E’s sisters place and relaxing.
We grabbed a matatu and after another 8 hour ride arrived at our final destination. And his sisters were PISSED that I didn’t have stitches. They spent the evening disinfecting and bandaging my leg like I was a wounded solider. Well that and berating E for not taking me to the doctor.
And yep. I’ll admit I was petty and revelled in the fact that they felt the same way I did. And that they were making him feel bad about not helping me. Because it’s not like I expected him to magically heal me. Or sew me up himself. But I would’ve appreciated if he had acknowledged my body was broken and needed to be fixed. And at the very least wanted to see me whole.
But no. E was always only about E. No matter who’s blood was spilled in the process.