Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Prison Food, Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work


Where's Edith?
The texting started when we landed. One of my daughter's best friends was in the Madrid airport, for the next hour, and the goal was to see her, to be with her.  Text, text, text.  We agreed to meet at the gate her friend's plane was leaving from, or at the gate of our connecting flight - scheduled to leave in 5 hours - if all else failed.  I handed over her passports and boarding card and when the doors to the plane opened, she rushed forward.

Javier and I lazied off the plane and through immigration, from T4 to T1, squinting at the Spanish sun. Exhausted. I am a person who needs sleep, and I hadn't slept in a long while.  In the terminal, it became somewhat unclear which flight her friend was on, which gate to go to.  In retrospect, confusion due to sleep deprivation more than anything else, but seemed unclear at the time.  We went to one gate, the wrong gate, she wasn't there.  When we started towards our next best guess, the correct gate, I lost steam.  Irritated that I had to walk back and forth across the shiny airport, looking sloppy while surrounded by Spaniards in nice shoes, tracking my daughter. Had to pee. Tired. So we detoured to the lounge and took a break.  Once I connected to the airport WiFi, I sent her an email and a WhatsUp to let her know where we were.  She's always texting, right? She can find us.

After an hour, still no daughter.  So I left Javier in the lounge and went looking.  Didn't find her because, coincidentally, after an hour of waiting at the gate, she started wandering around looking for us.  Returned to Javier, who fell asleep in my lap for the next 3 hours, so I couldn't move, chose not to move, didn't move. There I sat, staring at the revolving news about the Royal Baby and Egypt, vacillating between bother and panic.  Is she really off-line or ignoring my message for some bizarro reason? If she fell on the escalator and her hair got caught, could the hospital find me?

When it was finally time for our connecting flight, we went to the gate.  She wasn't there.  My head clouded.  I turned to take some unknown action and there she was, walking towards me. I was angry at first, then apologetic for not making the effort to go to the second Gate. For choosing my son's sleep over her discovery.  Couldn't sleep all night, confused by a too long mid-day nap and images of her looking for us, which she did, for hours on end at the airport. Unable to connect to WiFi without a credit card, having spent her 15 free/intro minutes texting to her friend. Spending her 10 euros on a package of sliced chorizo and a latte, wondering if we had been caught up in some kind of confusion at immigration.  Why else would her mother not come for her like she said she would?

Sleepless night = GIRLS, Season 1 (more on that later); first three chapters of Michele Berger's Workable Sisterhood (more on that later); this post.  The blog is back.