June 16th, 1990
We landed just after seven am, at which time Ben Two (as Hilary called him) made one last attempt to get me to give him my phone number.
“The statisti, er, the numbers for long distance relationships are shit you know,” are the last words he uttered before I grabbed my Samsonite and turned and bumped into Sam, from training.
“Well, lookie what we have here,” he said, kissing my cheek.
“Hello darling, you’re looking well.”
Sam took an exaggerated step back and gave me what we refer to as, “The Up Down.”
“And you! From where did you hail?”
“I know,” I groaned. “And you?”
“Was actually,” he said, glancing up ahead at the customs agent. “Do you think we’ll get stopped?”
“Nah, they rarely stop us. Why? What’re you hiding?”
“Keep your voice down,” he whispered.
“Sorry. Did you buy too much booze?”
“No but I have a suitcase full of frocks and a very expensive headdress I bought from some old tranny down by Copacabana Beach.”
I laughed. “I don’t think it’s illegal to carry women’s clothing through customs.”
“It is when said headdress is encrusted with jewels and worth a small fortune.”
“Ooh,” I uttered. “Then you better hope you don’t get searched.”
“Just keep talking,” he urged as we fake laughed our way through customs with thankfully no interruption.
Mum was still in hysterics over Sam and his headdress, when the phone rang.
“I’m not in the mood for talking to anybody,” I groaned.
“Neither am I,” mum said, heading to the bathroom.
I counted eleven rings before giving in.
“Hey you,” breathed the all too familiar voice.
“Ben, hi, how’s it going? Did you get your Wings?”
“I did, I did.”
“Congratulations. You must feel relieved.”
“Very. Got my first flight tomorrow.”
“Oh wow, already? Where to?”
“The Big Apple.”
“Aw, fantastic. You’ll absolutely love it! I’m sooo excited for you!”
“Yeah I can’t wait. I’ll send you a postcard,” he laughed.
“Listen, I might come home in between this trip and my next.”
“That’d be cool,” I uttered, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.
“If I do, I’ll give you a ring and maybe we can go out for a drink and swap flying stories. How does that sound?”
“Sounds good,” I said, sensing the subtle change in my breathing.
“Great, well I better go so I can pack and all that.”
“Ok, enjoy your first trip, hope it all goes well.”
“Thanks, I’m sure it will.”
I have no doubt.