October 2nd, 1989
Flight from AUH – LHR
Landed at Heathrow at one thirty pm, after what felt much longer than eight hours in the air. I was so tired I thought about going straight home, but Laney said she wanted to check her mail slot before catching the bus to the crew car park, so I followed her upstairs in TriStar House and did the same.
In my mail slot were several notes as well as a small package, wrapped in tissue paper, attached to which was a sheet of paper, folded in half. I looked to see if Laney was about but she was at the other end of the room, talking to someone, so I read the note:
Seeing as you have yet to experience Hong Kong, I thought you might like this.
Give me a ring!
Hope you had a good trip, maybe you should give me a jingle and tell me all about it!
I’m sure you’re tired from the night flight, so drive safely.
Oh, and maybe, after you recover, you’ll get on the old dog and bone!
FYI (hint hint!) I’m on leave ‘til the 12th, when I go to LA.
I hope you like the gift.
Talk soon (maybe, perhaps, hopefully)
I unwrapped the tissue paper and smiled when I saw what was inside.
“Oooohh, that’s lovely,” Laney said, from behind me, making me jump.
“Shit, you scared me!”
“No swearing in uniform,” she scolded. “Where did that come from?”
“A friend,” I said, coyly.
Laney ran her fingers over the pale blue scarf. “Real silk. Nice friend,” she teased. “Who is he?”
“No-one you know,” I said cockily.
“I might, don’t forget I’ve been flying much longer than you.”
“I doubt you’ll know him and if you do, he’s not your type.”
“Snippy snip, snip,” she said in a singsong voice.
“Sorry,” I said. “I’m just really tired, aren’t you?”
“I am actually. Let’s go.”
Closer to home, I got stuck in rush hour traffic and didn’t get home ‘til almost six.
“Is that you, Karen?” mum called out from the kitchen.
“Yep,” I replied, maneuvering my heavy suitcase through the front door.
“Go and help Karen with her case, Tommy, it’ll weigh a ton after two weeks away.”
I let out a little chuckle when I heard dad say, “Yes, your majesty.”
“Hullo hen,” dad said, coming into the hall. “Just leave that there, I’ll get it.”
“Thanks dad. Phew, it’s good to finally be home.”
“You must be shattered,” he said, giving me a hug.
“Not too bad,” I yawned.
“You’re just in time,” he said, tipping his head towards the kitchen.
“Something smells good,” I said, kicking off my shoes and hanging up my jacket.
“I hope you’re hungry. Mum went all out tonight. I think she missed you.”
“Hi mum,” I said, going into the kitchen.
“Hullo hen,” she said, squeezing me. “Perfect timing.” She put her hands on my shoulders and held me away from her as if she hadn’t seen me in a while. “That’s a smashing scarf,” she said, brushing her fingers over it. “I like that colour on ye. Did’ye get it in India?” she asked, turning her attention back to the task at hand.
“Uh, ehm, actually…” I stuttered, just as mum interrupted me.
“Right, ladies and gentlemen,” she said. “Take your seats. Karen, take that scarf off so you don’t spill anything on it, I’ll be asking ye for a wee loan of that soon.”
After dinner, there was much chat about what’s been happening in my absence (not much) and mum and dad opened the little bits and pieces I picked up for them in various markets. Dad especially loved the silk ties I found in Kuala Lumpur.
We rang Nana to wish her a happy seventy-first birthday. Mum talked to Nana first and pretty much relayed everything I’d just shared about my time away.
“That was some trip you had,” Nana said, when I was finally able to pry the phone away from mum.
“It was interesting, that’s for sure,” I laughed.
“I cannae believe you went all the way to India, to the Taj Mahal,” Nana sighed, “and I only made it to the centre of Glasgow.”
“I hear Glasgow’s lovely at this time of year,” I replied, which made Nana laugh. “I got you a birthday present in Malaysia, so sorry it’s late but I’ll post it to you tomorrow.”
“I’ll look forward to getting it, thanks hen, you’re a good lassie. And thank you for the sentimental birthday card as well. I must admit the words brought a tear to my eye.”
“Aw, I’m glad you liked it.”
“Oh aye, it’s taken pride of place here on the window sill.”
“Happy birthday to you Nana, here’s to many more.”