Updated: Feb 7

Marianna heaves a sigh of relief as the plane descends from the clouds. The winding Seine and the Eiffel Tower come into view and, soon after, the runway at Charles de Gaulle.

She had struggled with wearing the mask on the long flight. The AC was much colder than usual and the minimal food and drink service disgusting. These new post-COVID restrictions took all the joy out of air travel, which she used to love.

It had taken her two hours to board in Sydney, between the form filling, the vaccination and temperature checks and extra quizzing on her final destination. Some countries hadn’t yet received the vaccine.

However, she'd persevered and is now looking forward to seeing Marcel again after so long. Zoom romantic dinners can only do it for a while. She wonders what it will be like to actually touch a man. She feels rusty in that department.

The security and health checks are just as bad in France and she feels herself wilting in the long queue. The drinking fountain nearby is shut down.

An announcement is made in French, then in English, and suddenly they are directed to a different exit.

‘What’s happening?’ Marianna enquires of a man near her. He grabs his phone.

‘We’re being taken to a quarantine hotel, it seems. Someone on the flight had a fake vaccination certificate and has tested positive for the virus.’

Marianne can’t believe it. This is a nightmare.

She jolts awake and notices she's sweating profusely. The Sydney sun shines strongly through her window.