January 31st, 1990

January 31st, 1990

The Lexington Hotel, NYC

I can’t stop smiling but I’ll start with this morning.

“If you open the cabinet to the left, you’ll see…”

“A tea kettle! When did you get this?” I asked, grabbing the shiny kettle off the shelf.

“Recently,” Christopher smiled, from his spot on the couch.

“Very impressive,” I said, filling it with water.

“And,” he teased.

“There’s more?”

“Second cabinet in. Top shelf.”

“Ooh, proper tea. Nice. May I?”

“Knock yourself out,” he laughed.

“I will and don’t worry, I’ll make you coffee.”

 

I moved a couple of the living room chairs around so they faced the huge window with the view of the street.

“This is so cool,” he said.

“Don’t you ever watch what’s going on out there?”

He laughed. “In the two year’s I’ve been in this apartment, I don’t think I’ve ever looked out the window.”

“What do you think?”

“It’s the perfect spot for morning coffee.”

“And tea.”

“And toast,” he laughed.

 

Later this morning, a lanky looking chap from Christopher’s office came to the apartment to drop off what looked like a hefty amount of work. I left soon after so Christopher could get on with what he needed to do, plus I wanted to go to Bloomingdale’s and buy more Clinique moisturizer.

“Don’t be a stranger,” he said as I was getting ready to leave.

“If you need anything between now and around two tomorrow afternoon, I’m your girl.”

“Thank you,” he smiled and blew me a kiss.

 

It was bitter cold so I didn’t stay out for long. When I came back to my room I felt at a bit of a loose end. I’m usually happy spending time alone and don’t have a problem filling up my time but I felt too distracted to read so I turned on the tv.

An old episode of T. J. Hooker was on (I love Heather Locklear) so I got comfy on the bed and started watching the unrealistic storyline that I ended up enjoying! The scenes around LA made me think of David so I reached for the phone and dialed his number.

On the fourth ring, he picked up.

“Hello?”

“David, hi.”

“Karen, hi, what a surprise.”

“I thought you’d still be in India.”

“Change of plans,” he said. “Guess you didn’t receive my most recent letter.”

“Guess not.”

“Where are you?”

“New York.”

“Aw man, I was hoping you’d say LA.”

“I wish.”

We talked for almost four hours. Hence the reason I’m smiling!

 

January 30th, 1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 30th, 1990

Christopher’s apartment

73rd Street, New York

Decided to stay at Christopher’s tonight as we’re having such a good time with so much to talk about. He finds it amusing that I feel the need to write my diary whilst here but I told him if I wait until the next day, it’s never the same.

“So, do you ever miss a day?” he asked.

“Only if I’m really drunk or really depressed.”

I got the impression he thought I was joking!

“You should write a book about your travels.”

“Why?”

“I’m sure what you put in those pages is really interesting.”

“Not really, it’s just a record of what happened.”

He laughed. “Your life isn’t exactly tedious.”

“I agree but I doubt anyone would want to read about it.”

“Well, if you decide one day to write a book, please be kind when you mention me.”

 

I had a great day out sightseeing with Lolly and somewhere on Broadway, we broke into song.

“You grew up riding the subway, running with people, up in Harlem, down on Broadway.”

Lolly sang, “You’re no tramp,” and trying not to laugh, I sang, “but you’re no lady. Talking that street talk.”

We linked arms. “You’re the heart and soul of New York City.”

 

In Nicole’s bar, we toasted to the fact we met exactly a year ago, on the first day of our training course with British Airways.

“I can’t believe you left flying and are on your way to Boston.”

“It just wasn’t for me,” she said. “Can you imagine me as a nanny?”

“I can actually, I think you’ll be amazing with the kids.”

“Thanks. I’m a bit nervous.”

“That’s only natural, think about how you felt walking into Cranebank a year ago.”

“That’s true.”

“I was so anxious I thought I might throw up on the train.”

She laughed her lovely Lolly laugh.

“I’ll miss you,” I said, suddenly feeling sad. “You must promise to keep in touch.”

“Promise.”

 

After Lolly left, I picked up some Chinese food and came to Christopher’s, at the appointed time.

“Look at you,” he said, hobbling back to the couch.

“I know, I practically feel like a local.”

“The city suits you.”

“I agree, it’s magical. It has a way of seeping its way in.”

“I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else.”

“No need!” I said, from his tiny kitchen.

“You should seriously consider moving here.”

“Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

“We could hang out, eat Chinese, go to our local.”

“We have a local?”

“Sure, the Coconut Grill. I can’t go in there without the bar staff asking where you are.”

“That’s so sweet, I miss going there.”

“As soon as I get the all clear to walk, it’s the first place I’m going but for now I’m stuck here,” he said with a sigh. “You wanna watch Arsenio Hall?”

“Sure.”

 

I sat on the floor, stuffing my face with noodles, straight from the carton, while Elle McPherson glided her way across the screen. A few minutes into her interview, I said, “I love that watch she’s wearing.”

I looked over my shoulder to see Christopher smiling.

“What?”

“Watch? She’s wearing a watch? Sorry,” he grinned, “I didn’t notice.”

 

January 29th, 1990

January 29th, 1990

Flight from LGW – JFK

Lexington Hotel, New York

Tea and toast with Meryl this morning then a quick drive to Heathrow where I met my crew before boarding the crew transport that took us to Gatwick. Flight was super easy with a total of only sixty passengers! The crew really aren’t my cup of tea and thankfully I was able to use the “I have friends here” excuse that is standard for “I don’t like any of you enough to want to spend time with you.”

Just got back from spending a lovely evening with my favourite New Yorker, Christopher. Poor thing is incapacitated as he’s recovering from knee surgery but he only just had it done so hopefully he’ll be on the mend soon. For once, I met him at his apartment and it was lovely being greeted by Michael the doorman when I walked into the building.

Christopher loved the assortment of fun British keepsakes I recently bought him in one of the touristy shops in London. I also took wine but with the heavy pain meds he’s on, that was not an option so I made him coffee instead. He has the snazziest coffeemaker that I’d buy, if I wasn’t allergic to coffee.

We talked at length about work and I wasn’t surprised to hear that throughout his recovery, he’ll be working from him. Apparently, someone from his office comes every day to drop stuff off. He’s so driven, I can absolutely see him rising to the top of his game in the tv world, which he’s expressed more than once is his desire. I dropped several hints that, with some notice, I could probably accompany him to the Video Music Awards this year. I missed it last year because the date coincided with training to get licensed to fly on the Boeing 747.

“What’s the latest in the BK saga?” he asked, just like he always does.

“In the last episode, Karen was crestfallen when she found out Ben gave another girl a ring.”

“Man, that boy is dumb”, he said in his heavy New York accent that I could listen to forever.

I sighed. “I don’t think I’ll ever be free of him.”

“Not with that mindset you won’t.”

“Ooh, that was a bit harsh.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean for it to come out like that.”

“That’s ok.”

He smiled his sweet smile and mouthed, “Sorry.”

“You can blame it on the meds.”

“Have you thought any more about living here in the city?”

“I’d move here in a New York minute,” I said in a sing song voice “but it’s a bit far for work.”

“I’m impressed you know that song.”

“My dad’s a big Don Henley fan.”

“A man with good taste,” he laughed.

“My dad loves music, actually I love the album that song is on.”

“The End of the Innocence, I have the cd if you wanna hear it.”

“You do? Shall I pop it in?”

He cracked up laughing. “You and your expressions.”

“You and your expressions,” I said, pretending to smack him with the floor cushion I’d been sitting on.

“Can’t you use the Concorde? I mean if you lived here, couldn’t you fly the Concorde?”

“In a word, no,” I said, running my finger over the spines of his cd collection. “And it’s just Concorde, no need for the the.”

I saw him try not to smile. “So you can’t use Concorde with travel concessions?”

“Shit!”

“What? You can’t find it?” he asked.

“What?”

“The cd, you can’t find it? They’re in alphabetical order.”

“No, no, I have it right here,” I said, waving it in the air. “No, I just remembered tomorrow is my one year anniversary with British Airways, which means I’m eligible for staff travel.”

“You can stay here anytime.”

“Thank you, I really appreciate that.”

“Including tonight,” he paused. “If you don’t wanna go out in the cold.”

“I’m sure Michael will hail me a cab.”

He laughed. “You already sound like a local. And you’re not leaving yet, are you?”

“No way,” I said, watching the cd disappear into the slot. “We need to listen to this first.”

“Cool”, he smiled. “Sorry I can’t dance with you.”

“That’s ok, you can still sing.”

 

January 28th, 1990

January 28th, 1990

Girls flat, Hampton Hill

Spending the night here in preparation for an early morning check in, which is only a few hours from now.

Lorna and Kimberly are away so just Meryl and her boyfriend Alan, who is very Scottish and very shy. The more wine we consumed, the more uncomfortable Alan appeared with the conversation Meryl and I were having about what else but the opposite sex. Two bottles into the evening, Alan mumbled something about a stack of reading material he had to plow through, in preparation for an upcoming lecture.

“Sorry, Meryl,” I said, holding out my glass for a top-up.

She looked to make sure Alan was out of the room. “Don’t worry, he’s probably happy to have some time alone. I love him but blethering’s no exactly his strong point.”

“It’s ours for sure,” I laughed.

“Aye, it is. Besides, now you can tell me all the juicy bits about you and Jack.”

“Let’s see, Jack is lovely and utterly charming and I think if Ben was out of the picture I could totally fall for him.”

“Wait! Ben’s still in the picture?”

“Yup, just last night in fact.”

“I thought he was engaged?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “They exchanged rings.”

“Isn’t that considered a betrothal?”

“Typically, it would but in this case, there was no fanfare and he swears he has no intention of marrying her.”

Meryl’s expression, mixed with her guttural cry said it all.

“I know, I know,” I pleaded. “When it comes to him, I just can’t seem to help myself.”

“I find your relationship with him mystifying and I haven’t even met him.”

“Trust me, after seven years of him in my life, I’m still baffled by it!”

We cracked up laughing.

“I think you should give Jack a chance. I know I only met him briefly when he came to pick you up but he seemed really nice.”

“He is and I do plan on seeing him again.”

“Ok good but where does that leave David?”

“Ah David. I have letters galore from him. He travels almost as much as us.”

“I cannae believe you haven’t been rostered a trip to LA yet.”

“It’s so unfair, you lot have all been and I’m still waiting.”

“It’s the most brilliant place, you won’t want to come home. When you finally get there,” she said, with a smirk.

“Don’t rub it in.”

Meryl laughed. “What do you think will happen?”

“With what?”

“Ben. Jack. David.”

“Ehm, I’d say nothing with Ben, well when I say nothing I mean no future but I can’t imagine ever seeing him and not snogging the face off him.”

Meryl laughed. “What if he marries whatsherface?”

I shook my head. “He won’t, I can guarantee it. And her name’s Mandy.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Think about it. If he truly loved her, would he still be in contact with me?”

“You’re right. Ok, what about Jack?”

“Like I said, I do want to see him again and of course having him in the same country is an added bonus.”

“Unlike David.”

“Exactly.”

“So, David is out?”

“I wouldn’t say that. I’m willing to see how it goes the next time we meet.”

“When will that be?”

“No idea.”

“I wish we knew someone in crewing we could chat up to get you on a trip to LA.”

“Can you think of anyone?” I asked.

“Unfortunately, no. Are we done talking about your admirers? I have to wee.”

“Not exactly.”

She stood up and crossed her legs. “There’s more?”

I nodded my head. “I met a guy called Jean Jacques on my Lagos trip.”

“And you’re just telling me this now? Hurry up, I really need to wee. Who is he?”

“He’s a French journalist, he lives in Paris.”

“Ah, I love Paris,” she said, heading for the bathroom. “You need to go to Paris.”

“I am!”

“When?” she shouted.

“When I get back from New York.”

 

January 27th, 1990

January 27th, 1990

At home

I’m still giddy from spending the evening with my favourite ex.

The minute I heard his voice on the phone this afternoon I lost my willpower and agreed to meet him. What can I say? When it’s good with us, nothing compares and when it’s bad it feels like the worst feeling ever. Tonight was, by far, the good kind and I loved every second of being with him.

Ben’s grin gets me every time and when he got into my car all I wanted to do was grab him and kiss him. I can’t even explain how he makes me feel but at times it can get overwhelming. I wonder if that level of attraction can be fully attributed to pheromones or if it’s something that goes beyond our present understanding of how two people can create such intense emotion. Whatever it is, Ben and I had it tonight, in abundance!

Another letter (I’ve yet to open it) came today, from David. And I was surprised to get a phone call from Jean Jacques, asking when I want to go to “Par e.”

 

January 26th, 1990

January 26th, 1990

At home

Landed at LHR at six thirty this morning and was home by ten, where I found mum in the kitchen. I could tell straight away she wasn’t quite herself and when she eventually opened up, she said she’d been thinking about her Mother and how much she misses her. It’s only been two months since Nana died and I know very little about bereavement but I do know how heartbroken I’d be if I lost my lovely Mum.

Ended up staying up all day and spent a chunk of time on the phone.

“How was your trip?” Pamsy asked.

“A complete waste of time.”

She laughed. “I’m sure you’ll make up for it. I’m off this weekend, can you come down?”

“I’d love to but I can’t be bothered to drive.”

“I wish we lived closer.”

“Me too.”

 

Sebastian rang and invited me to a party.

“You should come, I can’t wait for you to meet Greg.”

“Who’s Greg?”

“My new beau.”

“I’d love to but I can’t be bothered to drive.”

He laughed. “You need a chauffeur.”

“I would absolutely love that!”

“Course you would,” he chuckled. “I’d be happy to come and pick you up but you’d have to spend the night, I won’t be in any fit state to drive you home.”

“That’s really sweet of you but not tonight. Thank you though.”

“The offer’s open ‘til seven, ring me if you change your mind.”

 

And then Jack.

“So, how was it?”

“A complete waste of time.”

“Sorry to hear that but I don’t imagine that part of the world is much fun for you girlies.”

“You can say that again.”

“Are you knackered?” he asked.

“Quite the opposite, actually, it was a very restful trip.”

“Would you like to go out?”

“Yes!”

“Fantastic. I know you don’t like driving so should I come to your neck of the woods?”

I felt myself smiling when I said, “Would you mind?”

“Not a bit. If I leave now I can be there by, say, nine at the latest. Is that ok?”

“More than.”

He laughed. “I just need your address.”

 

January 25th, 1990

January 25th, 1990

Flight from DHA – LHR

Finally heading home after the most uneventful trip ever. Fortunately, my next trip is to New York, which is never dull.

Crew rest, thanks to the generous nature of our purser is two hours, which, on an eight-hour flight is considered ample. I have the worst period cramps that started this afternoon and don’t appear to be letting up. They’re so bad that I didn’t even grab any biscuits to munch behind the curtain, here on the TriStar, nor have I touched my tea. I know, shocking!

I wonder if I’ll see Jack during my days off.

 

January 24th, 1990

January 24th, 1990

Flight (as passengers) from DOH – BAH – DHA

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia for a female is certainly a world unto its own and not one I have any desire to spend more time in than is absolutely necessary.

At the airport in Doha this morning, our crew were the only females not covered, which drew much attention. That level of discomfort continued on the Gulf Air flight we flew on as passengers, with a quick stop in Bahrain.

I couldn’t wait to check into my room to  escape the unwanted glares and start counting the hours ‘til we leave. To help the time pass (ha!) I ordered prawn curry from room service and two helpings of chocolate mousse.

The mousse is long gone but I have several books to choose from, as well as an endless supply of hotel stationery and pens.

Nineteen hours and counting.

 

January 23rd, 1990

January 23rd, 1990

Flight from LHR – JED – DOH

The Oasis Hotel & Beach Club, Doha, Qatar

I was five minutes late getting to TriStar House this morning, where I was greeted by the scornful wrath of Helen, on the crewing desk. She was so annoyed that I fully expected her to say she was taking me off the trip (which would not exactly have made me cry!) but she obviously knew the best punishment would be to send me here.

On a positive note, Doha is dry, so with no alcohol in sight it’ll give me a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep. We made a quick stop in Jeddah today, which always makes the duty day feel much longer but that’s not why I’m knackered.

Just as I was about to leave the house yesterday, Jack rang.

“Sorry I had to cancel on Sunday.”

“I take it you’re feeling better?”

“Much better,” he said. “Back at work today.”

“I’m glad to hear it.”

“What are you up to?”

“I’m just getting ready to drive to Hampton Hill.”

“Hampton Hill? What’s in Hampton Hill?”

“Three very good friends. And a flat. Where I’m spending the night.”

He laughed. “Sounds like a big night ahead.”

“I don’t expect it to be, I have an early morning check in, hence the…”

“Oh, so you’re free tonight?”

“Ehm…”

“Hampton Hill’s my neck of the woods, I could meet you for a drink.”

“You live in London!”

“You know what I mean.”

I laughed. “You’re nowhere close to where I’m going.”

“I can be.”

“Ok, let’s meet for a drink,” I said, surprising myself.

“Where?” he asked.

“I don’t know the area that well and I hate driving in new places, so..”

He laughed. “Don’t worry about that, just tell me where you’ll be and I’ll come and pick you up.”

That’s how it started; an incredible night in London with Jack, the guy I had no desire to kiss not even two weeks ago, when I feigned food poisoning just to get away from him!

And now, after our lingering kiss by the bus stop outside the flat last night, I can’t wait to get home and do it all again.