by Cristina M. R. Norcross
I was sitting on a plane wearing two sweatshirts,
a light jacket, my new charcoal wool coat,
which my mother bought for me as a send-off gift,
and practically every piece of good jewelry I owned.
Who knew what happened to luggage on an 8-hour flight?
Plus, coats on me meant more room for shoes
in my massive Samsonite.
It was just two weeks after our wedding,
and we were looking out the window,
struggling to see the faces of our parents
in the terminal.
The clouds expanded and filled the sky,
masking my tearful farewell.
Skies unknown were before us,
as well as a spartan apartment in Durham,
with tiny bugs in the refrigerator.
Very soon after, a brick bungalow by the sea
in Newcastle, was our home
No shower, just a tub.
For me, this was roughing it.
My husband found milk crates left behind by the landlord,
which he stacked with a piece of plywood.
This was my first desk in England,
where I wrote my first short story ever published,
Never did those four hunter-green walls
and shag green carpeting
look so beautiful,
as the day the postman delivered
that acceptance letter.
We were lost, and then we found ourselves.
It took eight hours on a plane,
and treading water in a foreign land,
to bond us forever, as explorers in life.
Nothing says adventure
like wearing everything you own
on a Trans-Atlantic flight.
Cristina M. R. Norcross
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The author and her husband John, Hampstead Heath Pond, U.K., circa 1996.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My husband and I lived in the UK for five years after getting married. It was one of the most enriching experiences, filled with both adventures and struggles. We were just at the beginning of things — careers, marriage, identity. All things seemed possible. They still do. Twenty-one years and two children later, we are still traveling, still learning, and still leaning into love. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cristina M. R. Norcross is the author of seven poetry collections. Her most recent books include Amnesia and Awakenings (Local Gems Press, 2016), and Still Life Stories (Aldrich Press, 2016). Her works have been published, or are forthcoming, in The Toronto Quarterly, Your Daily Poem, Lime Hawk, The Poetry Storehouse, Right Hand Pointing, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others. Cristina’s work also appears in numerous anthologies. She was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition and a finalist in the 2015 Five Oaks Press Chapbook Contest. Cristina is the founding editor of the online poetry journal, Blue Heron Review. She is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day and a contributing artist to The Art Ambush Project. Find out more about this poet at: www.cristinanorcross.com.