August 10th, 1991

August 10th, 1991

At home, England

I can’t seem to get out of my own way at the moment. I keep thinking, “tomorrow, I’ll do that tomorrow,” then I get up and within a few hours, my energy is zapped. Pamsy said it’s only natural for us to occasionally feel knackered after so much flying and different time zones but I have a sneaking suspicion my lackluster mood is more related to my love life, or lack thereof!

Two nights ago, I spent a couple of hours on the phone with William, who talks as if we’re about to get married! I keep telling him I don’t want to live in America but he either isn’t taking me seriously or thinks I’ll change my mind. I suppose in one way it’s good he acts so “normal,” but in another, I envision a life where I end up living somewhere I dislike, with someone who doesn’t relate to me.

Pamsy said I have, “a slight tendency to over analyze everything,” but that as long as I’m not with Ben, she’s happy! Speaking of…he spent the night here last week, all so fantastic, until he left, after which I spent the rest of the day wandering around in a daze, so much so that when I went over to see mum and dad, mum pounced on me the second dad took Tini out.

“Something’s bothering you,” she stated. “Wit is it?”

“I think I’m just tired,” I said, not daring to look at her. As much as I try, I can never hide anything from my mum.

“Maybe you need a wee holiday.”

I laughed. “The last thing I want to do during my time off is get on a plane.”

“We could go up to Scotland on the train.”

“And see Nana,” I was about to say, quickly catching myself as a wave of sadness swept through me.

“I miss her as well,” mum uttered, reading my mind.

“I know you do, I’m sorry mum. And yes, maybe we could go up to Scotland for a few days, that’d be nice.”

“We could go to Edinburgh,” she said, all smiles. “Something different.”

“Oooh, I like the sound of that. Let’s go the first week of September.”

“Is that no a wee bit close to Sarah’s wedding?”

“With any luck, I’ll be taken prisoner in Edinburgh castle,” I laughed. “That way I won’t have to wear that awful bridesmaid dress!”

“Och,” mum tutted, stifling a giggle. “Yer an awful lassie!”

 

August 3rd, 1991

August 3rd, 1991

At home, England

Spent the morning with Sarah, at “the final fitting,” for the bridesmaid dresses she chose for Suzette and I.

“How it feels?” the seamstress said, jerkily zipping me into the dress.

“Fine,” I lied, continuing to suck in my stomach, whilst attempting to hold my breath, which I have to say is not an easy combination!

“Leetle tight,” she said, her heavy Russian accent doing nothing to mask her disdain.

“Uh-huh,” I uttered, afraid the zip would give if I dared say anything more.

“Heeps,” she stated, smacking my right hip, before undoing the zipper in one fell swoop.

“Yes,” I said, quickly stepping out of the dress. “I have hips.”

“Tut tut tut,” she clucked, staring me down. “Too much heeps.”

“Too much tongue,” I hissed, under my breath.

Sarah smiled in my direction. “What was that you said?”

“I was just saying how much I love my dress.”

“Aw, do you really love it?” Sarah cooed.

“Truly,” I smiled.

About as much as I can love something that clings to me and looks like regurgitated pastel crayons!

 

July 18th, 1991

July 18th, 1991

Night flight from DTW – LHR

I’ve heard it said how important it is to know what you want but that it’s more important to know what you don’t and I can say, without a doubt, that I don’t want to live in America. In the big scheme of things, I probably shouldn’t proclaim such after only a short stay in Massachusetts and less than twenty-four hours in Detroit, but that’s really how I feel right now.

I debated over ringing William but after too much wine with my crew, I caved in and found myself dialing the number that (for whatever reason) I can’t seem to commit to memory. After a few minutes, I blurted, “I can’t see myself living there!” which I expected to throw him for a loop but all he said was, “We can figure it out.”

What I failed to tell him is that I spent the most incredible weekend with Ben but I did tell him the ring he (William, not Ben!) bought me is back in its box, stuffed in my dresser drawer. He actually laughed, which I found quite confusing. After that, we talked easily about all sorts then all of a sudden, he said he needed to go to bed.

“Oh, ehm, ok,” I stuttered.

“I love you,” he said, leaving me feeling more confused than ever.

 

July 15th 1991

July 15th, 1991

At home, England

Since Ben left this afternoon, I’ve been replaying the weekend in my mind:

“Thanks for everything,” he said, tossing the last of his things into his bag. “I really don’t want to leave.”

“I don’t want you to, either but I believe Hong Kong is calling.”

“This time tomorrow,” he sighed, “I’ll be in Honkers and you’ll be halfway to Detroit.”

“Don’t remind me,” I laughed, as he moved towards me. Cupping my face in his hands he said, “Thank you for making my twenty-fifth birthday so spectacular. I loved every second with you.”

“No problem,” I croaked. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

“Did you?”

“I think you know the answer to that,” I said, pulling away, if only to stop the tears in their tracks.

I need to ring Pamsy. Hopefully she’ll forgive me for being a day late.

 

July 13th, 1991

July 13th, 1991

At home, England

 

I picked up the phone to Pamsy. “Soooo, was it great? How’s the flat? Fill me in!”

“It was nice.”

Nice? You don’t sound very enthusiastic, are you just tired?”

“No. I’m a little sad.”

“To be home?”

“To be, shit, I don’t know-”

“What happened?”

“Nothing really, I mean, it was pleasant and we spent a lot of time together and the place is really sweet-”

“But?”

“I just can’t see myself living there.”

“But what about William? Did you enjoy being with him?”

“I don’t think we’re compatible.”

“At all? You said he was quiet, maybe he’s just shy?”

“I think so but aside from that, he doesn’t like going out much.”

“That’s odd.”

“I don’t know if he just gets stressed from his job, you know how some people are really into their work and take it home with them?”

“Unlike us,” she laughed. “You have to keep in mind how unusual our jobs are, I mean who else do you know who gets paid to fly around the world? Perhaps the normalcy of what you just experienced was all too much at once?”

“I didn’t think of it that way but you could be right. Maybe that’s why I was bored.”

“It doesn’t mean the two of you can’t find somewhere livelier to live, right?”

I sighed a deep sigh. “I really don’t know, Pamsy. I just don’t see myself living a life like that.”

“Did you tell William?”

“No, not yet.”

“Sounds like you have a lot to think about, I’m so sorry. I imagine it’ll be a quiet night for you?”

“Actually no, “I said, wondering if I should continue.

“Oh, are you going out?”

“I might be. Ehm, Ben is coming over.”

“Noooooooooooo-”

“Yeeeeesss,” I said, glancing at the clock for the umpteenth time.

“What am I going to do with you! I thought he was still with Mandy Pandy.”

“I don’t know, we didn’t get that far on the phone.”

“You better ring me first thing tomorrow with every and I mean every detail but do it before half nine, that’s when I have to leave.”

“That’s a bit early.”

“Well, tonight, after you don your long, flowing, flannel nightie, you know, the one with the ruffled neckline and long sleeves, brush and floss your teeth, climb into bed and before you shut off the light, reach over and set the alarm, then crawl under the duvet for a long-”

“A long what?” I managed, through giggles.

“You know,” she chuckled. “A long, deep, satisfying…sleep!”

 

July 12th, 1991

July 12th, 1991

Flight from BOS – LHR, as a passenger

Heading home after spending ten days with William, which meant I was in America over “the fourth,” as they refer to Independence Day. Having never celebrated such, I was more than keen to go all out and do whatever it is they do but William had a migraine and said he didn’t feel like “fighting the traffic.”

The flat William rented is quite lovely. There’s a little balcony off the living room that overlooks the harbour, the whimsical view of which inspired me to write a couple of short stories about the sea and such. On the days William was at work, I strolled down to the pier and watched the fishing boats pull up, surprised by the amount of work it took to offload the huge containers.

There’s a twice daily boat cruise that sails through the Cape Cod Canal, which, according to the little pamphlet, was built in 1914 (first I’d heard of it!) I spoke to several people on the pier who said the trip was worth doing but I never got around to it.

The town itself is quaint, with nothing more than a pizza joint, a “convenience store,” (more like inconvenience as they had nothing I was looking for!) and a post office. Oh, there’s also a wooden shack type of place that sells fried seafood but apparently, it’s only open during “the season,” which William said is between, “Memorial Day and Labor Day.” Seriously, it’s like another language! Memorial Day is in May, which is when the tourists start showing up and Labor Day, “when they leave,” is, I think he said the first week of September. I’m not sure what happens after “the tourists” leave, it didn’t exactly seem busy to me but William insisted the place was “overrun with New Yorkers this time of year.”

As picturesque as it is, I shan’t be returning.

 

June 24th, 1991

June 24th, 1991
At Pamsy’s, Sussex, England

As much as I love going out on the town, my favourite part of the night starts the minute Pamsy and I get in the car (having a friend who’s allergic to alcohol has its benefits!) where
we immediately begin dissecting every, word, outfit, mannerism and gesture of those we spent the evening with!

None too pleased with her ex, Sammy’s behavior (on her birthday no less!) flaunting his new girlfriend, I felt the need to cheer Pamsy up.
“You ok?”
“I s’pose,” Pamsy sighed but I could tell she wasn’t.
“I think Sammy’s gained weight, don’t you?”
“Now you mention it, yes, he has,” she said, perking up a little.
“And what did you think of Caroline’s dress?”
“It was a bit snug.”
“Snug?” I snorted. “You could practically see her ovaries!”
Pamsy cracked up.
Mission accomplished.

 

June 21st, 1991

June 21st, 1991

Night flight from SFO – LHR

Homeward bound after a great time in San Fran, with a particularly nice crew.

Being in America made me think about living there and how I think I would fit into such a different lifestyle. The East and West Coast are like two different countries and given the choice, I’d live on the West Coast (and no, I’m not harping on about LA!) The pace is more to my liking and the people seem a lot more laid back. On the East, they seem more uptight and not as friendly but it’s not like I’ve lived in either place so I could be completely wrong.

If things work out with William, which I have to say, at the moment, doesn’t seem likely. I mean I haven’t even talked to him since I left Antigua, nor have I received anything from him in the post, so as usual I’m probably getting ahead of myself butin the event that something let’s say, transpires(ha!) then it seems with his work at the moment we’d be based on the East Coast. Hmmmm, lots to think and talk about, all of which I’ll be doing tomorrow with Pamsy.

I hope, unlike yours truly, she’s getting a good night’s sleep!

 

June 20th, 1991

June 20th, 1991

Omni Hotel, San Francisco

With the eight-hour time difference, being on the West Coast typically consists of very early mornings and not so late nights but by the time I got to bed I’d been up for 29 hours so I guess that theory’s out the window!

Consequently, I was surprised to see most of the crew in the lobby this morning, the more senior members looking somewhat bleary eyed. The first class purser, a take charge sort, had taken it upon himself to book the ferry tickets (for 19!) to Sausalito. Bloody Mary’s were the order of the day on the hour-long ferry ride and I was the only one who didn’t partake (only because I don’t like tomato juice!)

I love the different characters of crew and the various tidbits you pick up about a place from other crew experiences. Rowena led us to her favourite boutique where I passed over way too much money for a white cotton jumper I’ll probably never wear. Anton is seriously into art and took us to his favourite gallery, an art deco style building, filled with papier mache statues that cost a small fortune. “It’s only bloody paper,” Jade chirped in her cockney accent, making us laugh. From there we made our way to the restaurant on the hill, suggested by Anna, and drank Californian wine recommended by Jason.

Malcolm began telling us about Sausalito’s involvement in World War II, during which 20,000 people on each of three shifts, built a liberty vessel every 13 days! Between 1942 and 1945, a total of 93 ships were built, all in that quaint little place we spent the most enjoyable day.

Ah, the stuff we learn (and the things we buy!)

 

June 11th, 1991

June 11th, 1991

At home, England

“I really don’t think it’s a big deal,” said Pamsy on the phone. “What’s so awful about it?”

“I just don’t like it!”

“Well you can’t change it.”

“I know,” I sighed. “But-”

“But what?”

“I don’t know how my mum and dad will react.”

“I think they’ll be fine. Our parents aren’t as old fashioned as we think they are and I think as long as you’re happy, they’ll be ok with it.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“Of course I am,” she chuckled. “Besides, you’ll feel better after you discuss it with William.”

“Hopefully, but I don’t know when that’ll be. He’s on an intensive training course then right after it finishes, they’re sending him out to sea. Argh, I’m so upset.”

“Listen, I’m sorry you’re upset but try and put it in perspective. It’s not like he has five kids or something!”

I opened my mouth to speak and burst into tears.

“Oh don’t cry, everything’s going to be fine. You love him and he loves you and I’m sure, given what Scott told you, it’s been really difficult for William.”

“I know,” I sniffed, “But I just wanted-”

“Everything to be perfect?”

“Uh-huh.”

“It doesn’t work like that, Karen, you know that. Love stuff is never easy.”
“I just wish,” I croaked, “he’d told me he was married before.”