August 22nd, 1989
I’d only been home for a short time this morning when the post came. Because our letterbox is brass, it makes a loud noise whenever the flap closes. Dad was at work, mum was out and I knew she’d be annoyed if she came home to find the post strewn over the floor, so I took a bite of my toast and went into the hall.
When I spotted the envelope with Ben’s handwriting I picked it, tore it open and found two pages inside, filled with very scribbly looking writing. I sat on the bottom stair and was halfway through reading the first page when I heard a key in the lock. Through the glass I could see it was mum so I quickly folded the letter and tucked it in my work handbag.
I dashed to open the door to mum but she was already inside.
“Hello mum”, I said, kissing her cheek.
“Hullo hen, are you just in?” she asked when she saw I was still in uniform.
“I’ve been home for about half an hour,” I said, picking up the rest of the post.
“I cannae wait to hear all about New York. Is there anything good in that wee pile?”
“Looks like bills,” I said, putting the post on the table.
I couldn’t wait to read the rest of Ben’s letter but mum was anxious to hear the news from her favourite city. She was all ears when I told her I spoke to David.
“He’s got some voice hasn’t he?”
I laughed. “You’re only saying that because he’s American.”
“Aye, well there’s that,” she chuckled. “But as well as that I think his voice is very calming.”
“How long did you speak to him before you told him I was in New York?” I asked.
She smiled. “No too long,” she said. “I could tell he was eager to get a hold of you.”
“Well it was a nice surprise, that’s for sure but I don’t know how he knew which hotel to find me in.”
“I told him.”
“How did you know?”
“When your wee pal Frankie phoned recently, I told her I used to work in New York and we started talking about how fantastic the city is. She mentioned the names of the hotels BA puts you up in.”
“Mum, I don’t even know the names of all of them.”
“Aye, well you should’ve asked Frankie, she’s been flying longer than you.”
“So you gave David the list of hotels?”
“Aye, something like that,” she laughed.
“I wonder how many calls he made before he found me.”
When I finally got to read the rest of Ben’s letter, it left me feeling confused. In it, he talked about “going to work in America” and on the next page he said he’d been thinking about how it would be if we were to “settle down together.” I don’t think he knows what he wants but I’m still really looking forward to seeing him again. Whenever that may be.