June 30th, 1989

June 30th, 1989

Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR

At home

Feeling a bit weary tonight which is no surprise considering I crept back to my room  ten minutes before call this morning. Call time comes an hour before we’re due to meet in the hotel lobby and head out to the aircraft and a mere hour this morning was nowhere near enough time for me.

Graeme was on a later Paris and when I was leaving his room, he said, “I’ll ring you.” Then he smirked and added, “Oh wait, I can’t. I don’t have your number.”

I just smiled and on my way back to my room I asked, “Who am I?” Bold or what! So unlike the old me! Graeme rang my room and said he had a great time and that we should really meet up again. We shall see.

Flights to and from Paris went well, although I have to say the service we offer on those short flights is just outrageous; newspapers, hot towels, full hot breakfast and two rounds of drinks, all served in under forty minutes. It always amazes me how we manage to get it all done and no sooner do we strap in for landing then we hit the runway.

Mum was in the garden when I got home and before she even opened the gate she started in on the questions.

“Mum!”

“Sorry hen, I just have a lot to tell you.”

“Let me get changed first,” I said, kissing her cheek.

Even while I was upstairs, mum was still calling out questions but I pretended not to hear her and continued to change out of my uniform.

In the garden, over tea and strawberry tarts, we talked for hours. I told mum I bumped into a guy I met on a Bermuda trip and that we went to London for dinner. I forgot to tell her the rest!

“He sounds awful nice she said with a big smile. “Do you like him?”
“I do like him, he’s great fun and very easy to be around, but…”

“But what?” she asked, touching my arm.

“Nothing,” I said, suddenly feeling choked.

“Janice told me about you and Ben,” she blurted.

“She did?”

“Aye, she told me because she knew you were upset.”

“Well now you know.”

“I cannae say I’m sorry you’ve split up. I don’t think he was the one for you but I don’t want to see you hurt.”

“I’m ok,” I sighed. “Sometimes I feel really sad over it but if he doesn’t want to be with me there’s nothing I can do to change that so I’m just getting on with it.”

“That’s ma lassie,” she said. “Oh, I meant to tell you Jon phoned last night.”

“Did you talk his ear off for an hour before you mentioned I wasn’t here?”

She laughed, “Maybe a wee bit longer than that.”

“You’re lucky he likes you,” I teased.

“Dad and I both like him, we were just talking about him last night and then he phoned. It was uncanny.”

“What did he have to say?”

“He just came back from Africa.”

I was surprised. “What was he doing there?”

“He was on holiday in Cape Town, said it was fantastic, great prices and beautiful scenery.”

“Wow, good for him. I didn’t know he was going on holiday.”

And how would I? It’s not like I ever make any effort to keep in touch with him.

June 29th, 1989

It’s six am on the 30th and I just came back to my room, but I’ll start at the beginning (apparently a very good place to start!)

The alarm shrilled almost twenty-four hours ago and when it did, I really didn’t want to get up. I hate the feeling you sometimes get at that hour, when it’s time to get up and you know you haven’t had nearly enough sleep.

Fortunately, both sectors, to and from Paris were easy, with the usual amount of amusement I encounter with French passengers, when I ask, “Tea or coffee?” and they respond with a blank stare.
Asking “Du thé ou café?” does the trick and generally meets with a big smile and, “Ah, du café s’il vous plait.”

I thought about going home for the rest of the day but felt too tired to face the drive, so I darkened the room with the shades and crawled into bed. When I woke up hours later, I was gasping for tea and felt annoyed when I realized I didn’t have any teabags left.

I spotted him the second I stepped out of the elevator. He was at reception, talking animatedly to the guy behind the desk, making a joke about something that made them both laugh. My initial thought was to pretend I hadn’t seen him and carry on but he turned before I could make up my mind.

“Karen!”
“Oh, hello Graeme,” I said, feigning surprise. “How are you?”
“Much better now,” he replied, smiling widely. “Are you on standby?”
I shook my head, “No, I’m doing the Paris dailies. How about you?”
“Same. I start tomorrow morning. Have you eaten?”
“Not yet, I was on my way out to buy teabags.”
“Teabags?” he said, looking at his watch. “It’s well past five you know,” he said with a smirk. “Let’s go and get a drink.”
“Where?” I asked.
“London.”

We caught the tube into central London and had dinner in Leicester Square with the tourists. Busying himself buttering bread, he said, “Thanks for ringing me.”
I didn’t know how to respond. “You’re welcome,” I said, avoiding his gaze.
“Was it something I did or didn’t do?” he asked.
“No, not at all,” I stammered and instead of leaving it at that like I should have, guilt made me continue. “I’ve just been really busy.”
“Oh ok,” he laughed.

We came back on the drunk tube (aka the late one) and caught a taxi from Hatton Cross.
Graeme’s room is on the same floor as mine but I have no idea how I know that!

 

June 28th, 1989

June 28th, 1989
Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR
Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow

Oh, the price we pay for such nights! Call came at five am and I stumbled around in the dark getting ready so I wouldn’t wake Stephen up. He didn’t even stir when I used the hairdryer!

I went to and from Paris and when I got back to my room, Stephen was still asleep so I went to bed and promptly did the same.

Woke up with Stephen singing and when I told him I’d already been to Paris he said he didn’t believe me! We ordered tea and toast on room service, ridiculously, excessively expensive and absolutely necessary.

Stephen and I drove to Three Bridges, where we met up with a few friends from our days at Air Europe. With a tummy full of curry, I dropped Stephen off at the train station and I drove back here alone. With time to think, it occurred to me that I’m single and can do whatever I want. Those thoughts made me feel really sad and prompted me to write a lengthy reply to Ben’s recent letter. But I doubt I’ll send it.

 

June 27th, 1989

June 27th, 1989
Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR
Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow

Another quick Paris there and back, then Stephen met me at the hotel and it was party time!

Carl turned up in good form, fresh from a trip romance (sounded familiar.) He was sporting a new leather jacket and much shorter hair that really suits him.

Drove to a trendy wine bar in Richmond, where we met Sam and the birthday girl, Lolly, who just turned twenty-one. A few of Lolly’s family and friends joined us and a good time was had by all.

Much later, Sam, Stephen and I drove into London and made a stop at Sam’s flat in Kensington. Wow, what a place. Security gates and underground parking, pure luxury. The flat’s interior was exquisite and Stephen commented “I’d be happy padding around this plush carpet in me slippers and dressing gown.”
Fortunately, I don’t think Sam heard and if he did, he didn’t respond.

From there we went to The Fridge in Brixton, where we met Xavier and more or less danced ’til the early hours. Sam drove Stephen and I back to the hotel and asked me if I initially thought he was a “nice straight boy.” I told him I don’t care if he’s gay or straight.

Xavier and I sat in the back seat and sang along to Erasure’s “A Little Respect,” which, in his French accent sounded really sweet.

June 26th, 1989

June 26th, 1989
Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR
Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow Airport

Got home at four am and there it was…the letter… as promised, from Ben, from France. I read it  straight away, cried too much and couldn’t stop. Tried to sleep but no way. Went downstairs at ten this morning when I heard mum up. I’m glad she’s back from Scotland.

Cried all the way to work on the motorway, just couldn’t stop. Crying and driving is a terrible combination. Fortunately it was just a quick Paris there and back.

Went to the hotel and our rooms still weren’t ready. Just wanted to get to bed for some much needed sleep. Eventually we checked in, took hours though. Brought the letter with me, just read it again and I cannot stop crying. I know this is it and it’s really hard.

I won’t write back to him.

June 25th, 1989

June 25th, 1989
At home

Back to the beach at lunchtime and it was packed. After our late night, we didn’t have the energy to run from Johnnie so of course he came and sat with us. He talks a million miles a minute and is the most animated person I’ve ever met.

He also went up in our estimation when he produced a chilled bottle of Tattinger to celebrate Pamsy’s birthday. Nice one Johnnie. When Pamsy went to say hello to another friend, Johnnie asked if I’d like to go out with him sometime. I was a bit taken aback and didn’t know how to respond.
“I’m not always around, it’s difficult for me to make plans,” is all I could come up with.
As soon as I said it, I felt a bit foolish but fortunately Pamsy came back and saved the moment.

This afternoon we had another barbeque and more or less spent the rest of the day lounging on the lawn. The weather has been glorious this entire weekend and I really enjoyed seeing again.

I finally left Pamsy’s at one am and got home just under three hours later.

It’s almost five am, I should probably get to bed.

June 24th, 1989

June 24th, 1989
At Pamsy’s, Sussex

Johnnie spotted us on the beach and came tearing towards us! He’s so funny but I really don’t fancy him, not even a teensy bit. We actually couldn’t get rid of him and told him we were leaving.

We got in Pamsy’s car, waited ‘til he left then went back to the beach, where Pamsy decided she likes Oliver again.

When we came back to the house I took it upon myself to ring him.

“Hi Oliver,” I said, sounding very confident. “This is Karen, Pamsy’s friend. I just wanted to let you know it’s her birthday weekend and it might be in your interest to be out on the town tonight.”
When I hung up. Pamsy’s expression was incredulous and we burst out laughing.
“You are crazy,” she said.
“Happy Birthday,” I said, with my biggest smile.

Pamsy’s dad got the barbeque going and a bunch of friends came over but not for too long because we had to get ready for our big night out.

We started off in the Denbigh and ended up in TJ’s but sadly, Oliver didn’t show up.

His loss.

June 23rd, 1989

June 23rd, 1989
At Pamsy’s, Sussex

Back with my lovely, best friend having a super fun time here at the beach.

This morning at home, I was in the kitchen washing the dishes when I heard someone in the hallway.
“Hello?” I called out, going in the direction of where the noise was coming from.
It was Janice, the other half of Janice and Terry, mum and dad’s friends.
“Sorry Karen,” she said, with a look of surprise on her face. “I didn’t know you were home.”
I gave her a questioning look. “I’m here to let Tini out and feed him,” she explained.
“Oh of course,” I said, making the connection, with mum away in Scotland.
“He’s asleep in the garden at the moment, I think between us he’s had too much to eat.”

I made Janice a cuppa and we sat in the kitchen for ages, chatting.
“So, how’s Ben? Was it lovely to see him? Your mammy said you were excited when you left.”
I burst into tears.
“Oh Karen, I’m sorry, what did I say?”
“Nothing you said,” I said, wiping my eyes. “We split up.”
Her face fell. “Oh no, I’m so sorry. I’d ask if you’re alright but you’re obviously not.”
“I’m mostly ok,” I said. “Seeing you  just reminded me of when Ben and I would babysit your girls.”
“My girls still talk about that, they used to love it.”
“They were so much fun and we always let them stay up late,” I confessed.
“I know,” she said, smiling. “What did your mammy say when you told her about you and Ben?”
I sighed. “I haven’t told her yet.”

Took three hours to get here, some of which was crying time, which actually felt good to get out. By the time I got to Pamsy’s, I put the sadness behind me and feel happy to be here with Pamsy, celebrating her twenty-third birthday.

We went straight to our favourite place; the beach. The boys were all out windsurfing and we met a few of them tonight at The Lamb to celebrate the birthday girl, who is now sound asleep, something I need to do but not until this is done.

When we got into our beds, I told Pamsy all about Graeme and Bermuda and when I was done, she said, “Tell me again!”

June 22nd, 1989

June 22nd, 1989
At home

Picked up my photo’s from the holiday (if you can call it that!) in France and it’s strange to see Ben and I together in most of them. It makes me so sad knowing it’s all over between us but I know I have to keep moving forward and not look back. Much, much easier said than done.

I did, however, read and reread every letter and card he ever sent me.

June 21st, 1989

June 21st, 1989
At home

Landed at Gatwick at midday and the crew transport took us back to home base at Heathrow. I sat on the bus with Graeme and we (he!) chatted all the way. He said he didn’t feel at all tired and I didn’t either. At the crew car park, we said our goodbye’s (no kissing in uniform!) and he gave me his address and phone number.
“I hope you’ll ring me,” he said.
I didn’t make any promises.

Home to a quiet house, with dad still at work and mum up in Scotland. Mum took Granda home on the train and in the note she left, she said Granda had yet to remove his flag cap!

When dad got home we had dinner together and lots of chat. My dad is definitely one of those easy to talk to people and I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad! He asked about my trip and it’s funny how I can tell mum stuff about boys but definitely not dad.

Sam rang and told me he’s been seeing Xavier (I know him from Air Europe days.) Xavier is a lovely French guy and I think they would be good together, hope I can see them both soon. Sam asked what’s going on in my love life, but with dad’s presence I couldn’t elaborate.

Right after I hung up with Sam, Pamsy rang and unfortunately I couldn’t tell her too much either!