Our trip starts with these words from me to my travel companion, Naomi: “Do not eat lettuce or any veggies which haven’t been cooked or peeled, ok?”

I walk downstairs to join Kathy and Naomi and am greeted by Kathy who tells me that Naomi is distraught. I feel a momentary fear that something terrible has happened at home to one of her children and ask where Naomi is so I can find out what is happening. Kathy points out the door into the torrential rain as lightning flashes across the sky. I am obviously confused, so I look between Kathy and the storm until Kathy says, “she can’t find her phone”. I slam the door and mutter, “How in the world will I explain to Jon that Naomi died of lightning strike because of a PHONE?”.  Meanwhile, upstairs in the dry, safe bathroom, a phone sits, waiting for Naomi to remember she left it there.

“I love your dress”, says Lucy, admiring Naomi’s dress. “Thanks! $10 from Amazon!” comes out of Naomi’s mouth as she is met by a blank stare, which happens at the exact time she realizes that may not be the thing to say. Maybe “thanks” would have been enough…

It’s 12:30am and I am finally starting to get sleepy. Naomi has been asleep for a couple of hours and quietly, I turn my computer off and get settled. Out of the pitch darkness, I hear a whispery voice, soft and scary say “ahhh mwdadf dgfywdf asag gluh”. Startled into thinking I am sharing a room with a child of the corn, I quietly ask if she is awake. After thirty seconds of silence, I figure she’s asleep. I turn over once again and the whispery voice says, “sisughha taskdfyw ushhhhih”. I whisper, “goodnight”, scoot as far over to the other side of my bed as possible and go to sleep.

On the plane from Mombasa to Entebbe, the flight attendant starts going through a series of safety measures for all passengers to listen to. She instructs us on how to put on a seat belt, where the emergency exits are, how the path is lit when the power cuts off, how to handle an oxygen mask. Naomi seems really interested in this speech I have heard about 3487425 times before and she suddenly whips her head around and says all excitedly to me, “wow! I never knew that! You have to PULL the oxygen mask?” I can’t help myself, but I simply stare at her in wonder. We are on our seventh flight so far in this trip and she is hearing this NOW? I start laughing so hard, I can’t even see straight. Every time I try to ask her what in the world she’s been doing while we are supposedly listening to life-saving information, all I can see in my head is Naomi looking out the window, then looking at me, then out the window, then at me, then the window, then me. And every time, saying, “did you see the sunset? Did you actually SEE it? It is on fire. I can’t even! Where is my camera? Oh, my gosh…the sky is on fire. Tanya, do you SEEEEEE this?”

The flight attendant talks on.

Naomi eats the lettuce…

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