January 22nd, 1989
Home sweet home!
Felt excited this morning, when the green patchwork quilt (aka Blighty) came into view, on our descent into Gatwick.
Said bye to Pamsy, and off we went, in the opposite direction to each other. I caught the Gatwick Express train into central London, and then I had to get two tubes, which involved going up and down about six different escalators. No fun at all with two suitcases. I was so relieved to get a seat, close to the luggage area, on the train home, from Euston.
An hour later, as the train was pulling into the station, I saw mum and dad on the platform, and the second I did, I realized how much I’ve missed them. While the train slowed to a stop, I watched their heads follow the compartments, and when mum spotted me, she clutched dad’s arm, pointed, and waved furiously.
Mum grabbed me the second I stepped off the train, and dad jumped on and grabbed my suitcases.
“We were hoping you’d be on this one,” mum said.
“Sorry I didn’t get a chance to phone. If I had, I would’ve missed it.”
“We’re glad to see you,” my dad said, tousling my hair. “You look like the picture of health, doesn’t she, Liz?”
“Oh aye, that lovely Florida sunshine did you the world of good. I cannae wait to hear all about it,” mum said, linking her arm with mine, on our way out of the station.
Ten minutes later, my journey was just about at an end, when dad put his key in the front door. I could hear Tini barking, and through the glass door, I watched him running up and down the hallway.
After lunch, we exchanged Christmas presents, and dad was amused when I asked him to play Christmas music. Tini sat by my side all afternoon, and he loved the treats I brought him from Disney, in the shape of Mickey’s head. Mum said, “If I’d known you still wanted Christmas, I’d have kept the tree up.”
Mum handed me a stack of post, and I skimmed through what appeared to be mostly Christmas cards, and a few letters. My heart leapt at the sight of Ben’s handwriting, and I tore the envelope open, and read his letter in record time. And then I read it again. And then I looked at the clock, and calculated how many hours it would be, until he rang.
I got myself situated on the phone chair twenty minutes before Ben said he’d be ringing. And when he did, I was positively thrilled. We were on the phone for almost three hours, but it didn’t feel that long at all.
“So, did you leave a trail of broken hearts behind in Florida?” he asked.
I laughed, “I don’t believe so.”
“Did you meet anyone?”
“I met lots of people,” I said, feeling cocky.
“You know what I mean.”
I thought about mentioning Gabriel, but then I thought better of it, so I said, “I met some nice people I went out and about with, to clubs, and stuff like that.”
I was expecting him to ask more questions, but instead he said, “When I come home, we need to talk about being together. Forever.”
“Forever?” I asked, just as mum walked past me in the hall. She gave me a disapproving look that I pretended not to see. “Eh, yeah, we can talk about that.”
“Is that what you want?” He sounded very serious.
Mum went into the living room, and I closed the door behind her.
“Yes,” I said. “That’s what I want.”
I’m in bed (love being back in my room) and I’ve been thinking so much about our chat, and what Ben proposed, and how I responded. I’m absolutely desperate to see him again, and us being together, in a lifelong commitment, is what I wanted. Before I left. But, we’ve apart for a couple of month’s, and I think I got caught up in the excitement of hearing his voice again. And as desperate as I am to see him, I don’t want my heart broken again.
I need to tread very carefully with him. And that’s never been my strong suit.