On the plane ride to Zurich, very carefully, I painted my nails a deep shade of pink. The kind of shade that you tend to see most women sporting these days, that tends to be an unacknowledged social marker that all is well in your life, and personal care and grooming occupy a high rank in your priority list and your daily schedule. And that indirectly translates into being a declaration of your emotional and physical independence from men and their evil/ charming ways (don't ask me how or why I deduct such deep meaning from a nail polish shade).
I curled my lips into a round 'O' and blew moist air to dry my pretty pink nails. Overhead, the air-hostess announced in a throaty accented English that we had begun our descent into Zurich and would be landing in less than half an hour. I felt a little flurry of excitement in my stomach. Coming to the Alps had been a life-long dream, and this trip could not have happened at a more opportune time. Every guide to dealing with heartbreak and divorce that I had read in the past two months had hailed the importance of travel, and I honestly didn't need much convincing in this department to begin with.
Outside the window, I could see hilly terrain and deep green fields with lines streaking across them like calligraphy on paper. I already had a good feeling about this trip.
There were some more announcements by the air-hostess and then by the captain--only in German this time--and I felt a sudden tug of inertia as the plane made a sharper dive as it proceeded to land. Figuratively, I thought, this could mean so many things. Inertia dragged my brain and body forward, and gravity threw my heart 30,000 ft. below the plane as if it was an inessential organ that needed to be discarded.
The wheels finally hit the runway and the A380 bumped and skipped and eventually came to a slow, comfortable taxiing speed.
The 'seat-belt sign' was finally switched off as we halted, and very tentatively, I touched a freshly pinked nail to check its thorough drying. It felt smooth and shiny, and I felt a satisfied little sigh escape my mouth. Very gently, I unfastened my seat belt and got out of my seat, joining the snake-like queue of my fellow-passengers to leave the plane.
One of my favorite things to do when I travel to a new country is to experience and classify in my head the first smell I detect when I leave the aircraft.
Zurich smelled of clean oxygen, pine trees and snow (even though it was only September and the snow was yet to arrive). I did a little pirouette in the most undramatic manner possible to take it all in, and capture an image in my mind to form my first impression of the city. Everything looked so clean and grey; it felt like viewing a place through an Instagram filter. (I scowled at myself for my insufferable social media addiction which had evidently taken over my thought process enough for me to even be able to name which filter Zurich seemed to be tinted with).
My jet-lagged legs somehow managed to carry me through the immigration desk, through baggage claim, and finally through customs and I finally sat in my cab. I had to give very animated instructions to the driver because he clearly had trouble understanding my accent, but once we finally set forth and I saw the first glimpse of Zurich, I knew I was in the right place.
Absentmindedly, I tapped my fingers on the car seat, which was when I suddenly noticed my bare ring finger. It had been a very long time since this finger had been stripped of the gold band I had proudly and happily worn for all these years. A circumferential ring of comparatively paler skin served as a sharp reminder of how long I had been a married woman, and also a simultaneous reminder that I wasn't one any more.
I made a mental note to buy myself a new ring during my Swiss getaway that wouldn't depend on the presence or absence of a man in my life. Perhaps a nice round diamond would go well with my pink nails.
Perhaps manicured nails and bejeweled fingers were the miracle drug for heartache.
Either way, I knew I would be okay. I was in Zurich.