October 16th, 1991

October 16th, 1991

35,000 feet, somewhere over America

I’m supposed to be on a flight to Toronto but halfway down the M25, my little red car started making sputtering noises, followed by spurts of loss in power that forced me to drive in the slow lane, resulting in me missing the briefing.

 

Shelia in crewing, more commonly known as “the most evil of them all,” gave me a right rollicking and said I’d have to “Take the matter up,” with my fleet manager, who, at that very moment, appeared!

“Nice to see you, Karen,” Brianna smiled. “Where are you off to?”

I began to explain my plight, but Shelia interrupted me. “I told her she’d have to see you.”

Brianna looked confused. “Why?”

“Because shewas late.”

“Car troubles can’t be helped,” Brianna shrugged. “I wouldn’t worry too much. I’m sure you have another trip for Karen.”

Shelia drummed her fingers, feigning a sudden bout of hearing loss.

“Shelia?”

“What?”

“Is there another trip you can stick Karen on? I’m sure she doesn’t want to hang around here on standby all day.”

“As it happens, I do have something.” I could tell from Shelia’s gleeful tone I was headed somewhere awful. She made sure I was looking at her when she sneered, “Lagos.”

“Lovely,” I lied, my heart sinking. “Thank you, Shelia.” For absolutely nothing!

Stretching her lithe frame over the counter, Brianna pointed to the screen.

“Would you look at that, Shelia,” she said, straightening up. “I’ve been guilty of making the same mistake.”

“Mistake?” Shelia hissed. “What are you on about?”

“L o s and l a x. It’s easy to see why you confused them.”

“But, but-” Shelia stuttered.

“Be sure to let Karen know the details,” Brianna said in an authoritative tone, before turning to leave.

“Bye, Brianna,” I said, not daring to look at Shelia, intently taking out her aggression on the poor, innocent keyboard. “Catch,” she growled, tossing the freshly printed roster in my direction. I grabbed it, gave her my biggest fake smile, turned and uttered, “Los Angeles, here I come!”

 

 

October 5th, 1991

462F70E0-657C-4810-874F-7D0CFF6CB7ACOctober 5th, 1991

Hotel InterContinental, Sydney, Australia

Aside from the fact we’re ten and a half thousand miles from home and nine hours ahead of GMT, life in the land down under instills a sense of being on the other side of the world.

One of my favourite things about coming here is spotting the Sydney Opera House on approach, as I take the jump seat and buckle the safety harness. According to one of the passengers, it was opened in 1973 by the Queen to much fanfare, which, given it took 14 years to build, is understandable!

Another thing I love about landing in Sydney is the palpable sense of excitement that sweeps through the cabin. Many of the passengers are coming to reunite with long lost family or in some cases, unite with family they’ve never met, which probably explains the reason I’ve witnessed more tears and hugs in that terminal than anywhere else in the world.

Today, I got to see the Opera House from another vantage point; the water. Sailing past the stark white million plus roof tiles, with the sun glinting, I forgot how jetlagged I am.

September 24th, 1991

September 24th, 1991

Anchorage, Alaska

It’s the last night of this two week trip that took us to Osaka, Narita and Fukuoka in Japan and of course Anchorage. One of those trips where you spend a lot of time with your crew and somehow fall into a routine of meeting for breakfast/dinner, even after lengthy flights through crazy time zones that often left us feeling dead on our feet.

This afternoon, just as I was pondering the possibility of a nap, Creona rang to ask if I fancied going to the pictures. We saw “Thelma and Louise,” which I enjoyed but Creona, in her thick Irish accent, said was, “absolute shite, except for the pretty boy with the floppy hair,” whose name I don’t recall. As good as it was, I much prefer Geena Davis as Muriel in “The Accidental Tourist.” When I told Creona this, she rolled her eyes.

“Don’t tell me,” she huffed. “William Hurt?”

“Love him,” I gushed.

Creona responded with a litany of profanities that I don’t wish to repeat!

As much as I’ve enjoyed the crew and seeing incredible sights, like the glacier in Portage, I’m very much looking forward to getting home to my own bed.

 

September 8th, 1991

September 8th, 1991

At home, England

Sarah is married! The day started out with a few sprinkles but by the time we were ready for pictures in her mum and dad’s garden, the sun was out in full force.

“Look at you lot,” Sarah’s dad said, discretely wiping a tear, as the photographer barked, “No squinting!”
“Bleeding ‘ard not to,” Suzette, the other bridesmaid uttered, while I made a poor attempt at sucking in my stomach.

“You’re not crying, are you, dad?”

“Me? No. Think I’ve something in me eye.”

“Aw, bless,” Sarah and Suzette cooed in unison.

“No talking! Please!”

“He’s a bundle of laughs, where’d you find im, Sarah?”

“And three, and two, and one,” the photographer shouted, above the sound of the shutter, snapping what I imagine will be amusing pictures.

“He’s a mate of-”

“And silence!”

“He better not keep this up all day!” Suzette huffed, making me laugh.
“And we’re quiet! And we’re still!”

“Still annoying,” Suzette hissed, as the photographer waved his hand. “Bridesmaids, step aside! Parents, step in!”

Suzette shook her head and pulled me aside. “We’ve time for some happy juice, before we go to the church,” she winked.

I gave her a questioning look. “Listen,” she whispered. “If we ‘ave to be stuck in these frothy frocks all day, we’ll need a drink. Or three.”

Ah, a girl after my own heart!

 

September 4th, 1991

September 4th, 1991

Hotel InterContinental, Miami, Florida

Thanks to a problem with the flaps on the Delhi flight that kept us sitting on the ground for hours, the cabin crew went out of hours! Consequently, I got put on standby and shortly thereafter got called out for this Miami.

Weather is amazing and I managed to get a few hours by the pool this morning, which was  super relaxing after last night’s shenanigans down in South Beach, where the salsa music was pumping ‘til the wee hours and the mojito’s flowed.

Leaving in a few hours so time for a little shut eye before heading home to get ready for Sarah’s wedding!

 

 

September 1st, 1991

September 1st, 1991

At home, England

It’s hard to believe that this time next week, Sarah will be married and the pastel, puke inspired dress, she’s insisting I wear will be rolled into a ball and stuffed in the back of my wardrobe.

She caught me off guard when she asked who I’m bringing to the wedding, something I hadn’t given any thought to.

“You can bring anyone you want,” she said. “Just not Ben!”

“Like I’d invite him!” I said, much too defensively.

“You should invite Jon.”

“Nah.”

“Why not? He’s really nice to you and-”

“He is…was, but he’s heavily involved with someone.”

“I bet he’d come if you asked him.”

“I just told you he has a girlfriend!”
“I still think you should invite him.”

“No, absolutely not. I guess I’ll be coming alone.”

“Well in that case I’ll get my husband to be on it and he can fix you up with one of his friends.”

“Ehm, thanks, but no thanks,” I stuttered remembering several occasions where Sarah thought it’d be a good idea for me to meet “someone they already know.”

“You say that now,” she smiled, “but you know after you see me getting married you’ll feel all romantic and want to snog somebody. That’s what happens at weddings!”

All I could do was roll my eyes as she continued. “Where is it you’re going tomorrow?”

“Delhi.”

“And when are you coming back?”

“Friday morning.”

“That’s cutting it a bit close, don’t you think? What if you get delayed or something?”

“I won’t,” I said, inwardly chuckling at the thought of not having to wear “the dress,” but knowing she’ll kill me if I miss her wedding.

 

 

August 28th, 1991

August 28th, 1991

At home, England

Home, after what turned out to be a very fun Los Angeles trip, proving that, even without David’s presence, I can still enjoy the surroundings of the place I’d put in second place to New York, but no more!

August 27th, 1991

August 27th, 1991

Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica

With the eight-hour time change, I was wide awake before five am and stuck a note under Josephine’s door, asking her to ring me when she woke up. No sooner was I back in my room when the phone rang.

“How’s this for a speedy response,” she chirped, making me laugh.

“Impressive. Oh, and morning.”

“It’s still dark out.”

“Which means we still have time to watch the sunrise.”

We met in the lobby shortly after and with only a spattering of cars on the road, we shuffled across the street, down towards the beach.

“Should we sit, at least until the sun comes up? Might be a bit dodgy otherwise.”

“Good idea,” I said, my mind thinking back to the amount of times David and I watched the sun come up while we canoodled on the couch on his rooftop deck

“Penny for your thoughts?”

“Ah,” I sighed. “Lost love and all that.”

“Oooh, I love a good love story, do tell.”

“This one doesn’t have a happy ending.”

“When do they ever? What was his name?”

“David,” I uttered, as she motioned for me to continue.

“I met him on a flight. I was working in Club, he was a passenger. A gorgeous one at that. We chatted and I really liked him, so I left my contact info in his jacket pocket.”

“You did not?”

I nodded. “A few days later, on the same trip, I bumped into him in the market in Delhi.”

Josephine’s mouth fell open. “Then what happened?”

“We spent the day sightseeing, then I had to leave but we stayed in touch.”

“That’s amazing. Where does he live?”

“About thirty minutes from here.”

“No way,” she shrieked. “That’s mental! Will you be seeing him?”

I opened my mouth to speak but it was easier just to shake my head.

“Not this time, or not ever?”

“Never,” I uttered.

“It ended that badly, huh?”

I nodded again.

“Sounds really sad. Can I ask what happened or is that too much?”

I dug my toes deeper into the sand. “He’s gay.”

Josephine’s hand shot to her mouth.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “It was a shock for me as well.”

She swore. More than once. “You were obviously in love with him?”

“Very much so,” I croaked.

She swore again. “Sorry, I’m just really shocked. Are you ok?”

“I think so, yes. I used to absolutely love coming here and I thought it would never feel the same, but here we are, sitting on the beach and, oh look.”

Josephine threw her arm around my shoulders. “Here comes the sun.”

 

August 25th, 1991

August 25th, 1991

Somewhere over America

Oh, the irony! Got called out on standby for a four day Los Angeles, which, this time last year would’ve sent me straight to cloud nine. But now, I’m not really sure how I feel about returning. The last time I was there was with mum, back in April, when I surprised myself by ringing David. He, in turn, shocked me by suggesting lunch and came to the hotel to pick us up. That afternoon, talking freely with him, definitely gave me a sense of closure but knowing we’re only a few hours away from landing where he lives, has me feeling a little out of sorts.

Crew seem nice and for several of them, it’ll be their first time in the city of angels, so I might end up playing tour guide, so who knows where that may take us!

 

August 24th, 1991

August 24th, 1991

At home, England

My four day Seattle trip was cancelled (no idea why) and now I’m on standby. With a maximum of only four hours’ notice, I could get called to fly pretty much anywhere in the world. As cool as that sounds, the reality of it means I won’t be able to go to Spain with mum. After everything mum does for me, I hate to disappoint her but I know she’ll understand. Still, I was really looking forward to a nice little getaway that doesn’t revolve around the needs of hundreds of passengers!