The lady checking in my suitcase is not budging. I am three pounds overweight and for some reason she wants sixty pounds charged to my credit card. I am told to sit in a bay and find some items I can chuck. I am not alone. An American performer has an outsized drum and starts telling stories off our plastic chairs that are not as comfortable as they look.
Typical of the Fringe, a desk checking in overweight performers becomes a natural place to tell stories and here is mine. I’m being shipped back to London with my show in pieces. I have been sitting on my case since 7am to try and get it to close. I pray to god my underwear does not spill out onto the carousel at Heathrow. One of the catches on my trunk is already open so I cut my losses and pay so much excess baggage for my props they deserve a seat of their own. I trash my set into pieces, stamp on the polystyrene base of the tree feeling its pain and I mourn for that. I start to get emotional then read there is a delay. I am more accustomed to reading the online Fringe show departure board than an airport departure screen.
I queue for information next to an acrobatics performing couple who ask me about my show and no matter how hard I try to explain the dark tragic story they keep replying ‘ah so it’s a comedy!’ They are off to their next gig in Stockholm and are genuinely pleased to hear that I got four stars. I think real show people want everyone else to do well. I suddenly find it easier to carry the small bags of props on my shoulder or maybe it is that I have grown stronger in these past three weeks.
I have broken the small suitcase. It is a casualty of the Royal Mile cobbles and sits on its back wheels forever smashed. My battered suitcase holds the stories of my life but we all have our cross to bear and mine is my luggage at Edinburgh Airport so I push on pretending the dirt is part of an urban design. My props deserve more than to be lugged like cargo for the wonderful story telling service they provide and when all is said and done they get an aisle seat too.