Double Life by

The texts came in almost simultaneously on her two phones. The two men in her life. Sonia read the first one from Fredrik, telling her to go back to the flat and he’d return later. He had an extra flight collecting Norwegian nationals, who’d become stranded in Dubrovnik. She opened the other one from Roger, telling her he loved her and was going to stay with his brother. He was getting too close to the virus on the wards. Safe trip – ring me when you get home.

So, she had a choice. She could go to the flat in The Hague and wait for Fredrik or she could turn around at Schiphol and get the next flight back to the UK. Because that’s where home was, not in the smart chic of Fredrik’s bachelor pad.

But then again.

Who knows when she might next see Fredrik? Her feet started taking her out of the airport towards the train to The Hague. Roger was in Birmingham, her husband, true; but he was self-isolating. There was nothing to draw her back to the house.

Sonia was glad to get out of her cabin crew uniform and into her PJ’s. She found herself pacing up and down, looking out at the lights in the flats around, catching ever more alarming updates on the virus. Had she made the right decision?

Another text. Fredrik. Grounded. A crew member had felt unwell, so they’d all been quarantined.

How frustrating. Sonia checked the airport. Perhaps she could get a flight back to Birmingham. As she scanned the departures, her heart sank. Flights cancelled. Her mouth was dry, her heart raced, her fingers fumbled trying number after number for information.

But the news was the same. No seats. No flights. No indication when anything could become available. All passengers were advised not to go to the airport until requested.

A ping alerted her to another text from her husband’s phone.  Roger’s brother.

Roger tested positive. Being admitted to hospital.  Are you home yet?

Home was hundreds of miles away. It seemed she was stranded. Alone. Plenty of time to think about the future and the double life she’d been leading.



J.L. Harland is the pseudonym used by Jacqueline Harrett and Janet Laugharne. They enjoy sparking ideas and creating stories together, including a novel and a novella so far, with work on a second novel underway. They also have individual writing projects. Examples of their work can be seen on their website:-



Photo credit – Safwan Mahmud


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