The Price Of Love – Part – 6 Fiction

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When Don heard that Guy was in trouble he decided to visit him. He really wanted to be there for him. Thus, one day he just showed up at his door without calling first as he was afraid that Guy wouldn’t talk to him.

Guy wasn’t surprised to see him when he opened the door. He let him in and escorted him to the living room. Don couldn’t help but notice the mess inside the house. There was stuff lying around all over the floor and it looked like Guy hadn’t put anything away since the police conducted their raid. And this wasn’t like Guy, who was always neat and organized. Anyway, the two friends sat quietly for a few minutes. Don glanced at Guy who appeared as though he aged a lot in a short period of time.

Guy patiently waited for his friend to say “I told you so.” But Don didn’t say anything. When he finally started talking, he expressed his sorrow over what Guy was going through and asked if there was anything he could do for him. He added that he was there to support him. Guy told him that the police were still holding onto his computers. They claimed they hadn’t finished checking them and as a result, he couldn’t work. Likewise, several of his clients left him after the incident was exposed. Although his name was never publically mentioned, some of his clients knew who he was dating. If that wasn’t enough, he couldn’t leave his house without someone looking at him as if he was to blame.

Don mentioned he read in the newspaper that a man named Alfred was arrested in connection with the case. He added that Alfred was the contact person who was responsible for sending the escorts to meet with clients in Vancouver many years ago……..

Don continued and said he was sorry he didn’t mention this during their conversation a few weeks ago, but it had slipped his mind. He was sure this piece of information would have turned on a light in Guy’s head, who would have immediately understood that Lucy was still involved in some sleazy business. This would have sparked his curiosity to dig deeper and find out why Alfred was still a part of Lucy’s life.

If Guy had this information he likely would have concluded he needed to end the relationship, which would have spared him from a lot of heartache…… Guy was intently looking at Don while he was speaking, but didn’t say anything. He looked tired and miserable.

A few minutes later, Guy said he had to know what happened. How was it possible that all the love Lucy showered on him and his children was fake?! She gave him so much during their time together. Guy had a hard time understanding that the gentle woman he loved took part in the heinous act of exploiting women. He was thinking about his own children, and how much they loved her, especially his daughter. He knew that her heart was broken after she found out what Lucy was accused of.

Don suggested that after the police clear Guy’s name, he should go visit Alfred in prison as he knows Lucy better than anyone. This way he might get some answers about the woman to whom he proposed. Guy looked at his friend as if he lost his mind…… why would he go visit that scumbag? He thought the man was a very unpleasant person. He never saw him smiling and wondered how Lucy could tolerate him.

The police returned Guy’s computers approximately a month after they seized them. They also came to the conclusion that he had nothing to do with the trafficking of women. They finally realized that Guy had no idea what his fiance was up to. In fact, they were pretty sure he was being taken advantage of.

But this was too little, too late. Guy’s reputation was already badly damaged. His business collapsed as he lost most of his clients. Guy was forced to use his savings since he had no source of income. The police had basically ruined his life. He even thought of selling his house and buying a condo as he desperately wanted to leave all of his bad memories behind him.

However, Guy got cold feet the minute the real estate agent started bringing people to see his house. He realized he could not proceed with the sale. He had a few long time customers left who stayed with him and believed he was innocent right from the start. They also knew he was a brilliant financial advisor and did not want to give up on his services. Therefore, they promised they would help him rebuild his business.

Michael’s, Guy’s lawyer, sued the police on his behalf for the destruction of his reputation and livelihood. The police wanted to make a deal with Guy and settle out of court, but Michael declined their offer. They went to trial and won the case big time. As a result, Guy and his children would not have to worry about their future…………

To Be Continued……………

The Price Of Love – Part – 5 Fiction

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Guy was gloomy for days after his conversation with Don. When Lucy asked him what was wrong, he gave her all kinds of excuses as he could not face the truth.

Don tried to reach Guy the day after he confessed to him. But Guy ignored him and refused to take his calls. He was angry and hurt and wanted to be left alone. Guy could barely work for days because he couldn’t concentrate, and couldn’t stop thinking about what Don had told him. He was debating with himself about what to do and couldn’t make up his mind.

Unfortunately, Guy had no one to talk to as he did not want to involve his parents or his children for that matter. He also knew that if he raised the issue of Lucy’s past with her, this would be the end of their relationship and this was the last thing he wanted. Lucy was the best thing that happened to him in years. He finally found happiness and didn’t want it to get away from him.

Lucy did not know what Guy was going through. After attempting several times to coax him to talk, she decided to give him some space. She told him she would stay at her place for a while and would be there for him when he wanted to talk. It didn’t occur to her that she was the reason for his behavior.

Guy was relieved to hear he would have some time alone. A few days later he made a decision to completely ignore what Don had told him. He would not discuss it with Lucy and would move on with his life as if nothing happened. A few weeks later on Lucy’s birthday, Guy proposed to her and she said yes. They decided their marriage would take place three months later during the university summer break.

One day Lucy told Guy she needed to urgently fly to England as her mother wasn’t well and needed to have surgery. Guy was very disappointed because he wanted to join her. But he couldn’t since it was one of the busiest periods at work. He said he would like to be at her side to support her as well as to meet her mother, but the circumstances wouldn’t allow it. Lucy was touched by his words and said she’d be back before he knew it.

Two days after Lucy left Guy had an unexpected visit from the police. They asked about Lucy and said they had a search warrant. Guy was stunned, and demanded to know what this was all about. The police wouldn’t tell him why they were there or what they were looking for. Thus, he told them he knew his rights and wanted to speak with a lawyer before they touched anything inside his house. The police ignored him, brushed him aside as they entered his house, and began their search.

Guy tried to call Lucy but she didn’t answer her phone. He didn’t know what to do so he called Don’s brother Michael who was a brilliant criminal lawyer. Michael told him he was out of town but would be back the next day. He added he would find out what the police wanted from him, and what the search was all about.

Guy’s house looked like a war zone when the officers finished their work. They took all of the computers in the house. It didn’t matter how much he tried to convince them he needed the computers for his work. But the police wouldn’t listen to him and took them away. They stated he should be prepared to come to their station for questioning.

Guy was exhausted after they left. He kept calling Lucy but she didn’t answer his calls. Michael called half an hour later and told him Lucy was accused of trafficking women……. Guy almost collapsed when he heard what his attorney had to say. He kept saying “this can’t be, there must be some kind of mistake here.” Michael said the police arrested Lucy’s partner whose name was Alfred. The Toronto police had already contacted Scotland Yard in the UK asking for Lucy to be arrested. Michael added that the situation was very serious and the police had a lot of evidence against her.

Over the next few weeks, Guy felt as though he was living in a nightmare. He was repeatedly questioned by the police who refused to believe that he didn’t know anything about his fiance’s occupation. The police were also certain that Guy was lying when he told them Lucy went to visit her Mom in London England.

They were sure he was trying to protect her as their colleagues in London checked this information and said Lucy never arrived in the UK. When they visited her mother, they realized she was indeed ill. She was suffering from Alzheimer’s and was living in a special institution. They were told by the staff that most of the time Lucy’s mother could not recognize anybody.

Anyway, in addition to being investigated, the Toronto police tapped all of his phones. While Guy was being harassed by the police for something he didn’t do, Lucy was free as a bird and nobody knew where she was. Guy couldn’t work as the police wouldn’t release his computers. Besides, he was in a bad emotional state and could barely force himself to get out of bed in the morning………..

To Be Continued………….

The Price Of Love – Part – 4 Fiction

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Don was very happy for Guy when he heard he was dating Lucy. The more he heard about her the more anxious he was to meet her, as she had changed his friend’s life for the better. Guy sounded cheerful every time they spoke. There was no sign of the gloomy and miserable person Guy once was, which was really incredible. He kept telling Don how happy Lucy made him and he was thinking of proposing to her soon.

Anyway, when Don’s father suddenly got sick he came to Toronto for a visit. Guy didn’t know even he was in the city when he received a phone call from him. He said he was in his neighbourhood and wanted to drop by. Guy was by himself and was happy for some company.

When Don walked in the door he thought he would finally meet the woman who made his friend so happy. But Lucy wasn’t at home and wasn’t expected to be there anytime soon. The old friends caught up with each other. Every time Guy mentioned Lucy he had a twinkle in his eyes. He was deeply in love with her.

Don asked Guy if he had a picture of her. Guy went to the bedroom and brought a framed photo of both of them from a vacation in Paris. Don looked at the photo and froze. He immediately recognized the lady in the picture. Guy described the trip in glowing terms, but Don was miles away. And then Guy mentioned that Lucy’s birthday was coming up this weekend and he was going to propose to her.

Don almost dropped the picture and said he had to go visit his father in the hospital and left the house. Don drove around aimlessly, as he did not know what to do with himself. Under different circumstances, he would consult with his father Eddie like he used to before he got sick. But Eddie underwent surgery a few days before and was still in intensive care.

Anyhow, after driving for approximately two hours, Don decided to go and see his father. When he got there his sister was sitting next to him. She was reading a book while Eddie was sleeping. She was surprised when she noticed her brother as he stayed with their father for several hours earlier that day. Eddie was lucky as he had a very devoted family. His wife and three children hardly left his bedside since he was hospitalized. They were sitting beside him in shifts.

However, Don told his sister she could leave and he would stay with their father. A few minutes after Don arrived, Eddie opened his eyes. He looked at his son who looked preoccupied, and whispered “what’s wrong?” Don answered that everything was OK. But Eddie gave him a look he used to give him when he was a child which meant you can’t fool me….. After Don left the hospital, he knew exactly what he needed to do……

Don called Guy the next day and told him he needed to speak with him about something very important. He told him to come over to his parent’s house as there was no one there and they needed some privacy. Guy was sure he was going through a hard time and needed someone to talk to and agreed to meet with him.

After Guy’s arrival, they sat for a few minutes without speaking. Don felt uncomfortable as he knew the minute he would start talking, he would drop a bomb on him. He couldn’t even look Guy in the eye. Then he told Guy that he knew Lucy. Guy said OK, why didn’t you say so earlier? Don was silent for a moment, and then he said you wouldn’t be happy to hear under what circumstances we met. He told Guy he met her a few years ago while on a business trip to Vancouver.

He called an escort service to have a woman meet him in his hotel room and she was the one that was sent………. She introduced herself as Lola. Don said this happened more than once. Guy turned pale while his friend was talking. He wanted to say something but the words never left his mouth. He composed himself and said you must be mistaken, it has to be someone else. But then he remembered that his friend had an excellent memory and if he said this is what happened, it had to be true.

After a few moments, he shouted at Don “Damn you. Of all the women you had to hook up with, it had to be her?!” Don explained to him that this happened a long time ago. He said that the last thing he wanted was to hurt him, but he had to tell him. Don said maybe she needed to earn money at the time and this was the only way she could do it. He added that she told him she came to Canada to look for her father who left her and her mother when she was a little girl.

Don mentioned that Lucy/Lola told him she had a sister in Canada too. Nevertheless, when Guy left Don’s parent’s house his heart was broken. He was so angry that he didn’t know what to do with his anger. Guy didn’t say anything to Lucy at first because he wanted to think about it and he did not want to say anything he might regret later. After a while when he thought he was ready to put his cards on the table he didn’t know how to approach her and discuss it…….

 

To Be Continued…………

 

The Price Of Love – Part – 3 Fiction

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Guy and Lucy started dating and quickly became a couple. Lucy would invite his children over to her house and would spoil them with small presents each time she saw them. She had a great rapport with them, especially with Emma. Emma would call her and ask for her opinion on all kinds of topics. Lucy became not just a trusted advisor or confidant, but also her best friend.

Despite the fact that Lucy and Guy were dating for a year, they did not live together. This was because Guy kept postponing it. Although Lisa was gone for a long time, Guy was reluctant to take this next step as he couldn’t let go of her. In addition, deep down inside he also enjoyed the freedom he had and was used to it. Even though Guy and Lucy were a couple, each of them had their own friends and their separate lives. There were days they did not see each other and Guy liked it that way. They gave each other the space they needed and it worked beautifully. 

Lucy had her own physiotherapy clinic and was a very busy person. She would get a lot of phone calls even during the evenings when she was at home. She had a manager named Alfred who ran the clinic for her and would regularly call her at home. Lucy would tell Guy that Alfred is very dedicated to his job and she wouldn’t be able to manage without him.

Alfred didn’t have much of a personal life as his life revolved around his work at the clinic. He and Lucy were friends and he would come to her house quite often. Guy thought Alfred was a weird person. He never saw him smile and couldn’t understand how Lucy could be friends with him.

Anyway, before Guy’s kids went away to college, they tried to convince him to move forward with the relationship with Lucy. They wanted him to ask Lucy to move in with him as they didn’t want him to stay alone. At first, he declined to do anything. He confidently stated he enjoys his private time and added that couples can spend time apart as well. But then he saw they wouldn’t give up on their agenda, he decided to go for it and ask Lucy to move in with him.

However, he didn’t think that she would ever part with the castle she lived in and move out. He was caught off guard when she accepted his offer. She said she would also keep her house as she has many memories there. She and her husband both had offices in the house and she wanted to keep them as they were. In addition, she has staff that lives there and she doesn’t want to uproot them. Guy was impressed by her sensitivity and kindness towards her employees.

The chemistry between the two of them was wonderful and Lucy treated Guy’s children as if they were her own. She would often go to her house and sometimes spent the night there. Guy never asked her why she did that. He thought it was because she was working late at night and didn’t want to disturb him.

Lucy had no friends at all except Alfred, which surprised Guy. She also didn’t like to join him when he socialized with his friends, even though she was a friendly, outgoing person. And if one of his friends came to visit, Lucy would always find a reason not to be at home. Lucy and Guy had very few pictures of the two of them together. The reason is that Lucy didn’t like to have her picture taken, as she felt she wasn’t photogenic. As a result, you could count the pictures of the two of them together on one hand.

Furthermore, Guy had a childhood friend named Don who was a naughty boy. He was divorced three times. He liked women, especially young ones. He would constantly flirt with them even when he was married. He would also have relationships with other women too. Thus his marriages didn’t last for more than a few years each.

Don was a businessman and traveled extensively across Canada and around the world. He liked to invite female escorts to his hotel room when he was traveling. He would tell his friends it was exciting to be with a different woman every time. It was clear that he was a man who was addicted to sex.

After Guy lost his wife, Don tried to convince him to follow in his footsteps. He told him it was fun and he wouldn’t have any obligation to any woman. But Guy was disgusted by the idea. As much as he liked Don, he didn’t want to hear anything about it.

Anyway, Don moved to LA after his first wife who was an American decided to move back to the US and took their children with her. Don has two children, a boy and a girl who he adored and couldn’t bear the thought of being apart from them. He would occasionally come to visit family and friends in Toronto and would always get together with Guy when he was in town……

To Be Continued………………

 

The Price Of Love – Part – 2 Fiction

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Guy’s friends decided to take the bull by the horns. They tried introducing him to single women they knew and found an original way to do It. They would send the women to meet with him to get financial advice in the hopes they would develop a personal connection.

Guy wasn’t very happy with it at first as he felt his friends were interfering with his personal life. But they were determined to persist with their plan until he gave up and started dating again. But unfortunately, no serious relationships came from their efforts. However, all of this changed when his children encouraged him to remarry. They told him this is what their mother would want. Although they were young, they understood he wasn’t doing enough to start a new relationship let alone maintain one.

Nevertheless, Guy would run early every morning in the park near his house. He would take Ritchie the dog with him and they would run together. In fact, he would go running with Lisa every morning before she got sick. This was their quality time together. They would talk about their plans for the future, and what was going on at work among other things without any interruptions.

Guy and Ritchie, would meet other people out with their dogs after they finished running. Ritchie would play with the dogs, and Guy would chat with the owners. One day after Guy finished his run, he went to meet his buddies and he saw a lady he hadn’t seen before with a beautiful husky. At first glance, she looked a little like Lisa. When she started talking, she sounded a bit like her too.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her. Then he noticed she had an English accent. He was stunned for a moment and caught himself staring at her. Then he felt embarrassed and shifted his vision elsewhere. The woman saw what happened, started laughing and slowly walked towards him. He apologized and said, “I’m sorry, you remind me of someone. She said “don’t worry about it” and introduced herself saying “I’m Lucy.” At the same time, Ritchie was also staring at Lucy’s beautiful dog.

The two of them started chatting and Lucy said she was a physiotherapist. She said she moved to Toronto from London England after she married a Canadian man. She suddenly had a sad look on her face and added that her husband had unexpectedly become quite ill and recently passed away. However, she decided to stay in Toronto after his death.

Guy didn’t want to speak about his personal life but he could relate to her story about losing her husband. He quietly mentioned he was a widower and had 2 children. Lucy said she had none. Guy liked her but thought that she gave him too much information too quickly and he felt awkward.

He didn’t ask for her phone number when they said goodbye but she said “maybe we could go for a coffee one day.” He smiled and said “maybe we will,” not wanting to commit to it. He then tugged on Ritchie’s leash and had to pull him away from Lucy’s dog. When she saw this, Lucy said “what a smart dog. He recognizes a good thing when he sees it and doesn’t want to let it get away from him.”

Guy couldn’t stop thinking about Lucy all day. Something in her fascinated him, yet he couldn’t put his finger on it. She was a pretty lady and looked like a strong person which he really liked. On the other hand, he thought she was a bit too pushy. A few days later Guy met Lucy in the park again. This time she behaved as though they were old friends and gave him a kiss on the cheek which embarrassed him.

Later on, they went out for a drink and Lucy invited him over for dinner at her house. When Lucy gave him her address, he knew exactly where it was. The Bridal Path was one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Toronto.

Guy was stunned when he arrived there by both the size of the house and how beautiful it was. It was designed by the most accomplished designer in Toronto. The house was spotless and there was nothing out of place. Guy felt uncomfortable even touching something because he was afraid he might damage it.

Since Lucy said she worked as a physiotherapist, he assumed she inherited the house from someone. Lucy told him her husband was a professor at a nearby university. He was curious how she could afford a house that size. Still, he didn’t have the courage to ask her about it.

After they had a drink, Lucy escorted him to the dining room and dinner was served by two members of the staff working in the house. They were young ladies who looked like models and barely spoke English. Guy really had a good time that evening and he couldn’t remember the last time he enjoyed himself so much……

To Be Continued……………

The Price Of Love – Part – 1 Fiction

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Guy was a widow for approximately 10 years. He had twins, a boy and a girl who were seven years old when their mother died. His family and friends tried for years to convince him to remarry. But he refused because he was afraid it would affect his children. He also didn’t want anyone telling him how to raise them.

He dated a few women over the years, but the relationships never went anywhere because he would always compare them to his deceased wife Lisa. He was unaware the women felt they were competing for his heart with a ghost. And this is why most of the relationships ended.

Guy’s house had pictures of Lisa in it everywhere. You would see her face every place you looked. In fact, the house looked like a museum in her memory as her stuff was all over the place. Guy loved his wife very much. Even years after she passed away, he was unable to get rid of her belongings.

Her things stayed in the same place since she died and it was forbidden to move them. The only exception was if they needed to clean the area, and then her things must be put back in exactly the same spot. Some of the women he dated thought this was sick, while others kind of accepted it and tried to respect his feelings.

However, Guy was a very shy person. He never took the initiative with any woman, except with Lisa. Every time he had a relationship with a woman, it was because she took the initiative. Lisa and Guy met in the bank where they worked as tellers at the beginning of their careers. Guy liked her from the moment he saw her. He dared to invite Lisa for coffee approximately a month after she started working at the branch and they were married three months later.

Lisa was an only child who grew up with her mother Mary. Her parents divorced when she was two years old and she has not seen her father since then. Her father wasn’t in touch with her either and she knew nothing about his life after the divorce. Her mother worked very hard to support the two of them plus her grandmother who also lived with them.

Mary worked as a secretary during the day and also did some typing work in the evenings to help support the family. Lisa and her mother had a very close relationship. She considered her mother to be her best friend. Lisa tried to locate her father for some time, but without any luck. It was as though the earth swallowed him up. At some point, she gave up and decided to move on with her life.

Anyway, Lisa and Guy were promoted at the same time. He left the bank after a while because he wanted to be self-employed and work as an independent financial advisor. Lisa stayed with the bank and became a senior financial advisor over time. They welcomed twins 2 years after they got married, Harry and Emma.

Unfortunately, Lisa’s grandmother passed away two months before she gave birth. Mary lived by herself for a while after her mother died and moved in with her daughter after her grandchildren were born. Mary was a very big help to her daughter and her son-in-law. Guy was skeptical at first as he thought it would be awkward having his mother-in-law living with them. But he quickly realized she was a wonderful person and very easy to get along with.

Lisa was a very dominant force in her husband’s and children’s lives. She was a strong willed and opinionated person who managed her career and the household in an exemplary fashion. Anyhow, Mary got sick with ALS when the twins were 4 years old. Lisa was exceptionally devoted to her mother and took care of her until her last day. When Mary passed away, Lisa lost not only her mother but also her best friend.

Her mother’s death had a significant effect on her and she wasn’t the same person anymore afterward. She was always serious and rarely smiled or joked around. Although she had a hard time, she never asked for help from anyone and basically ruled the roost. Then fate struck again and she was diagnosed with ALS. The most difficult part for her was when she had to rely on getting help from others, especially her husband. Lisa passed away a short time later.

Her death was a huge loss to everyone who knew her. Guy was sure that he would be unable to continue without her. But life forced him to move on at least for the sake of their children. In the first few years, after he lost his wife, Guy barely met his friends or socialized at all. His parents were very concerned about him and started to put pressure on him to move on with his life. They were afraid he would sink deeper into his bereavement and would be unable to pull himself out of it.

They drew his attention to the fact that his children were growing up and at some point, they would leave the house. They would have their own lives and he would end up alone. But Guy insisted he wasn’t ready to move forward and that he needed more time….

To Be Continued……………

The Chaos At The Airports

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People were waiting to take a trip for a long time. They started making their trip preparations months in advance. They planned it carefully as many of them can only afford to take one a year. But even in their worst nightmares, they couldn’t have imagined they would go through such a bad experience.

Obviously, nobody saw this coming. The airports look like one of the documentaries on migration I watched on the National Geographic channel. It is definitely not a place you want to be.

People have been saying the current scenario at Arrivals, in particular, is a disaster. The reason given for this is the airlines and airports laid off thousands of employees due to Covid. And now that the restrictions have been relaxed or dropped altogether, there isn’t enough staff available to handle the surge in passengers.

The end result is that the cost of flight tickets is much higher today, and we have to endure long waits and endless delays. In other words, travelers are paying more but are getting much worse service. And who knows when things will get better.

We recently saw a report on TV showing the horrific situation at Heathrow in London. There were thousands of people who lined up for hours to check in for their flights. Some said they had been waiting 4 to 5 hours just to get their turn at the counter. In addition, many flights have seen delayed departures or the airlines canceled the flights altogether.

One of the passengers described the situation as a shambles. He said he was waiting to pick up his luggage at the carousel. But all of the sudden, the luggage conveyor belt stopped working and the luggage began to pile up. As a result, the whole process came to a complete stop and many passengers had to leave the airport without their belongings. By the way, Britain is experiencing the same challenges in all its major airports.

The current travel chaos is a worldwide phenomenon and experts feel the conditions will get worse this summer. The cancellation of thousands of flights and long lineups have been mainly blamed on staff shortages and a slow recruitment process.

As of June 26, 39% of all departures from Pearson airport in Toronto have been delayed and 11% have been canceled. More than half (53%) of Air Canada’s flights were delayed and 4% were canceled. In addition, the lines of passengers waiting to go through security are so long that the airline is advising their customers traveling to the US to arrive at Pearson at least 3 hours prior to departure. By way of comparison, this is much longer than the flight itself from Toronto to NYC.

Air travel in Canada had a slower recovery compared with other countries such as the US as the Canadian government left Covid restrictions in place longer than others. Canada’s airlines also canceled several routes to popular winter destinations such as those in Mexico and the Caribbean.

The airline industry is struggling today to handle the explosion in demand for tickets. The shortage of employees has forced airlines to keep arriving passengers on planes at Pearson sometimes for over an hour as the terminal is too full to accept them. This not only impacts the passengers but also affects the schedules of flight crews and ground staff servicing the planes. This results in the delay of flights leaving the airport for their next destination.

But this is not just a Canadian problem. Airports in Europe, the US, Asia, Australia, etc are all seeing significant increases in delays and cancellations. For example, there were over 670 canceled flights in the US on June 26. The airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were blaming each other for this mess.

The airlines claim it is due to a lack of pilots, flight attendants, as well as other staff due to layoffs and resignations during the Covid pandemic. They also claim there is a lack of FAA air traffic controllers. The FAA responded by saying there is no shortage of air traffic controllers and is questioning airline staffing claims.

In fact, the FAA pointed out that the airlines received billions of dollars in federal funding, mainly to keep employees on their payrolls. However, despite this assistance, the number of full time and part time airline employees shrank during the epidemic. And then the question arises, how can the airlines have staff shortages after all the money they received?!

Furthermore, British Airway pilots have threatened to take job action shortly over their pay and working conditions. Easy Jet staff walked off the job last week in Germany, leading to many flight cancelations. In addition, Lufthansa has recently indicated they will be canceling some 900 flights in Europe this summer, and two of their subsidiaries will be reducing their summer service as well. Staff shortages have been blamed for these actions too.

Not to be left behind, Stockholm’s Arlanda airport has also been hit hard by cancelations and delays. There are indications that the situation will shortly get worse as 1,000 pilots from SAS airline have announced they are going on strike later this month.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Many people go on vacation this time of the year mainly because their children are off from school. In my opinion, unless it is absolutely necessary to get on a flight, people should postpone it for now. One should avoid even coming close to the airport…………

Our First Adventure In 2 1/2 Years – Part 2

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Before we took this trip, my husband and I agreed to continue wearing a mask while around other people. It didn’t matter to us what the test results would be. However, we received the results approximately 2 1/2 hours after being tested. Thankfully, the results came back negative, but I was still nervous about catching the virus. So we continued wearing masks when we were around my family. We even sat separate from them when eating dinner.

We were very happy to see them after not seeing them for so long. However, the fact that we had to wear masks was annoying, but we didn’t see what else we could do. The entire trip was surreal because we were almost the only people wearing a mask wherever we went. Sometimes there were a few people wearing them, but their masks were usually sitting on their chins and not covering their mouths and noses.

The two weeks went by extremely quickly. As soon as we started getting used to the place, we had to leave. The Covid regulations also changed in my native country by the time we were leaving to return to Canada. The regulations in place when we arrived stated that everyone entering or leaving the country had to wear a mask at the airport. But when we were leaving, this requirement was dropped.

The airport was crowded as usual on the day of our departure. In addition, our flight was delayed for approximately 45 minutes. Once we sat down in our seats, we noticed that the plane was only about 80% full. We were happy about that because we had an empty seat next to us. It’s always nice to have a little extra room 🙂 I should add that the conditions in the bathrooms were bad on this flight. In fact, the bathrooms were filthy. It was much worse than on the one leaving Canada, which really disappointed us.

We finally landed in Canada after a 12 hour flight. I was happy to be able to stretch my legs and looked forward to coming home to our apartment. But as we were taxiing to the terminal, we heard an announcement that we had to stay on the plane and couldn’t leave until we received permission. The reason given was that it was too crowded inside the terminal to process all of the arrivals. This meant we had to sit in our seats for another 45 minutes until they let us leave the plane.

We were shocked by how crowded it was when we finally got off the plane. Although there were a lot of check in kiosks, we still had to wait for an available one to make our customs declaration. In addition, there weren’t enough staff to assist travelers who needed help using them, which made everything slower. Up until about 2 years ago, the cabin crews on airplanes would hand out small forms that everyone arriving in Canada had to fill out and hand to a customs officer. We were told this was canceled some time ago because it was taking too long for travelers to clear customs.

It took us close to 25 minutes once we left the plane to arrive at the customs area. It took another 30 minutes to get in line, enter our information, and then finally see an officer. Before we left the area, I noticed an officer put colored stickers on our passports. My husband’s sticker was green and mine was pink.

We didn’t know what this meant at the time but found out a short time later. By that time all we wanted to do was go home, take a shower and have something to eat. Before we could do that, we needed to get our luggage. But there was a problem here too. An airport employee took pieces of luggage off of the carrousel and explained that the luggage from two flights was unloaded on one carrousel by mistake. We had never seen this before.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to search long to find our luggage as we could see them slowly making their way toward us on the conveyor belt. We quickly grabbed them and left the area which was getting crowded with other passengers eagerly waiting to get theirs too.

As we made our way towards the last exit, one of the airport security staff standing there asked that those travelers who had pink stickers on their passports move to a line on the right, while the others can continue towards the exit. And “moi” was one of the “lucky” ones who had a pink sticker. Those of us with the pink stickers didn’t know why we were asked to move off to the right side. A few minutes later we were told we have been randomly chosen to take a PCR test.

Well, at that point my frustration level went through the roof. I felt I needed to take a shower urgently before things started growing on my skin……. Although the procedure didn’t take that long, it had been a very long travel day for us, with delays at every step in the process. Even ordering a taxi to take us home took much longer than it should have as there was a shortage at the airport.

It took us an extra 3 hours but we finally arrived home. Despite all the lengthy delays, we considered ourselves lucky. The situation at Pearson airport went from bad to much worse a week after we landed………..

 

 

Our First Adventure In 2 1/2 Years – Part 1

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I haven’t seen my family for 2 1/2 years since the outbreak of Covid. At first, it was because there were no flights. Then it was because we weren’t vaccinated, and then every few months there was another variant and the number of infected people suddenly jumped much higher. All of this made it impossible for us to travel.

Until April 1st of this year, the Canadian government required every traveler to produce a negative Covid test before getting on a plane. In addition, there were many other restrictions that I wrote about in previous posts. Not only were all those requirements time consuming, but they also added significant costs as well. Another complication was that the country we wanted to visit ordered each visitor to be tested for Covid once they get off the plane. If they tested positive, they were required to go into isolation for 2 weeks.

Anyway, after the Canadian authorities decided to cancel the testing requirement and the number of infected people started to moderate, my husband and I recently decided to go visit my family. We needed a vacation and we felt it was a good time to do it. We bought our airline tickets about 3 weeks before our departure date. We also booked a hotel and a rental car.

 I started to feel anxious and uncomfortable about taking the trip as soon as we made the arrangements. At first, I didn’t know the anxiety was related to the trip. But then I realized this was the trigger. I started to think about how I was going to manage while I was on the plane. Although masks are required to be worn on flights except when eating or drinking, I was still worried sick.

I thought about canceling the entire trip many times but my husband,” etc. To calm myself, I decided to buy straws that I could slip under the mask and drink water while on the plane. This way I could limit my exposure to others. On the day of our departure, I made sandwiches for us to take on the plane, as I always do. But this time it gave us the flexibility to eat when the others had masks on.

Anyway, things looked very disorganized at the check-in area when we arrived at Pearson airport. I couldn’t tell if they were making repairs but there were wooden dividers everywhere and some areas were blocked from entry. However, most people were checking in using self serve kiosks. But sometimes it isn’t clear on the screen what the next steps are. As a result, many people were stuck not knowing what to do next. The airline was short on staff and they had only 2 employees running around like headless chickens from one kiosk to another. They did their best to help the massive number of people using the kiosks but couldn’t keep up.

We finally boarded the plane. Everyone was wearing a mask, which made me more relaxed. Before we even sat down, I cleaned the armrest, the food tray, and the entertainment screen so that God forbid no germs would even think of touching us ……… 🙂 I even offered the lady sitting next to us some wipes to clean her area too and she gladly accepted.

A few minutes after we sat in our seats, the stewardess announced that we are required by law to keep the mask on for the entire flight except when we are eating or drinking. She added that we can be fined if we don’t comply. That was very reassuring to hear.

The flight wasn’t easy for us as we wore the N95 mask which was very tight fitting and quite uncomfortable to wear. Despite all the plans I made before, I was afraid to eat because I had the idea I’d get infected if I took the mask off while eating. Therefore, I briefly lowered my mask, took a bite of food and as I started chewing I’d quickly pull up the mask to cover my face again. My husband did the same.

There were so many people on board who took their masks off most of the flight. Especially the young guy who sat across the aisle from me. None of them were fined…….. I can’t imagine the cabin crew didn’t notice people sitting without masks. But I think they decided not to bother enforcing the mask rule. This was a big disappointment. In addition, the bathrooms weren’t clean. It was clear that the crew didn’t clean them at all during the flight, which was quite surprising to me.

After a flight of 11 hours, we finally arrived at our destination. Once we collected our luggage, we were led to a large room to have a PCR test done. The test took a few minutes and we were told we would receive the results by text and by email………..

Nevertheless, we usually go directly to a hotel when we come to visit the family. But this time as we were tested for Covid at the airport we thought it would be appropriate to wait for the results before going to the hotel. We were told it could take up to 24 hours to get them and we didn’t want to take any risks.

I arranged to stay the weekend with my brother and sister-in-law until we received the test results. My brother came to pick us up at the airport and it was great to see him. We always hug and kiss when we see each other but this time it was different as we didn’t know if we were infected or not………

To Be Continued…………

Eating Disorders – Part – 6 Fiction

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Scotty was furious when he heard that Shawn was willing to pay for Romi’s treatment. He said that under no circumstances would he accept Shawn paying anything. Scotty had always loved Romi as if she were his own biological daughter. And he wouldn’t tolerate anyone interfering with his family. He called Shawn an arrogant ass and told Renee that if Shawn dared to make an offer like that again, Scotty would find him at the hospital and punch him in the face.

Scotty felt very uncomfortable that Shawn was back in the picture. He was worried that Romi would develop a close relationship with him, but at his expense. He was also afraid that Shawn would reveal that he was her biological father and not Scotty.

Scotty didn’t say anything about it but Renee knew him very well and guessed exactly what her husband was thinking. She assured him that Romi loved and adored him and would never choose Shawn over him. Besides, she said that Shawn was a coward back when she told him she was pregnant, and he is a coward now. He wouldn’t say anything to Romi.

Nevertheless, when Romi was hospitalized, Elizabeth’s condition deteriorated and she died. The death of her friend shook her to her core and she could not stop crying for days. This was the moment she understood that if she wanted to stay alive, she needed to cooperate with the professionals trying to help her.

So when her parents told her about the hospital in LA, she immediately agreed to get help there. At first, she actually said she would do whatever she was asked to by the staff. Her parents were delighted with her new attitude and decided that Scotty would escort her to LA. He has a sister there who invited him to stay with her for as long as he needed.

Renee and Scotty agreed that when Romi’s condition improves, they would tell her the truth about her biological father. They felt they had hidden the truth from her for too long and it was time for her to be told.

Romi went to LA with her father and was admitted to the eating disorders hospital the same day. She stayed there for approximately 2 months and received intensive treatments from psychologists along with anti-depressant medication as well as group therapy sessions.

She was extremely motivated to succeed. Her stay in the hospital was extremely expensive but she was lucky as her grandparents on both sides of her family contributed to help pay the bills. Romi made excellent progress during the treatment process, which was mainly due to her change of attitude and her strong desire to be healthy again.

As a result, after 7 weeks her doctor felt she could return to Toronto and continue her therapy there. The doctors believed that she didn’t need to be hospitalized but she needed to continue taking the anti-depressants and persevere with the psychological treatment program as an outpatient.

Before Romi and her father returned to Toronto, he took her on a trip just the two of them, which was something they had never done before. They really enjoyed themselves and God knows they really needed this vacation. With his wife’s encouragement, Scotty told Romi that he wasn’t her biological father. He apologized that he and her mother didn’t tell her long before. He said that Renee thought she should have been told when she was a young child. But he was afraid of losing her and decided to avoid having this conversation whenever the topic came up.

Scotty said to Romi that he loved her from the minute she was born. It didn’t matter to him that she wasn’t his flesh and blood. He added he never stopped loving her even though she caused them a lot of pain. He told her about the romance her mother had with Shawn. He blamed himself for neglecting Renee as he spent too much time at work and not enough with her.

He admitted that Renee needed love and attention and he simply wasn’t there for her. Thus she looked for it elsewhere and eventually found what she was looking for. Romi sat silently and listened intently to everything Scotty said. She surprised him with her response when he finished speaking. She jumped out of her chair, gave him a big hug and covered him in kisses, and wouldn’t let go. She said she couldn’t have asked for a better father.

Romi said that she wanted to focus on her recovery now and would like to return to university too. She added that maybe one day she would decide to contact her biological father but this wasn’t her priority right now. Romi returned to university while still undergoing treatment.

She started cooking and baking in her spare time which were things she had never done before. And to her surprise, she found them both to be quite enjoyable, particularly baking. This was like a form of therapy for her. Therefore, she decided that after she finished her Bachelor’s degree, she would study the culinary arts.

Romi wished to work with her father who had a local restaurant. It didn’t matter how much he tried to talk her out of this by telling her it was very hard work, spending countless hours on one’s feet. However, she wouldn’t be deterred from her goal and went for it as she felt an intense passion for it. Fortunately, Romi completely recovered from her illness and began to work with her father. In addition, she attended group therapy sessions twice a week to make sure she stayed on the path of good health…………