August 1st, 1990

August 1st, 1990
At David’s, Manhattan Beach, California

It was so lovely waking up with David and such a shame he had to go to work. He didn’t want breakfast and left really early, so I met up with a couple of the girls and Julian, who I worked with on the way over.

We rented a car from the place next door and decided to go to Disneyland, which I absolutely loved. Driving around was so much fun, with Julian at the wheel.
“Your boyfriend is pretty dishy,” he said.
“Hands off,” I laughed. “He’s not on your team.”
“Ah,” he sighed. “If wishes were fishes.”

After an amazing day at Disneyland, David picked me up at the hotel and we wasted no time coming here. Presently, we’re on the rooftop terrace and I’m once again writing by candlelight. We’re enjoying a bottle of Champagne, oh wait David said it’s done (that was fast!) so he’s gone downstairs to get us something else to drink.

Anyway, focus, focus, oh yes, he laughed when I told him what Julian had said.
“So, I’m your boyfriend, huh?”
“Well, are you not?”
“Boyfriend sounds too high school.”
“Ok so what should I call you then?”
“How about lover?”
I laughed. “Are you serious?”
“Yeah, why not.”

I shared my thoughts on maybe renting a place here, which David said he loves the sound of but he might have a work opportunity that would take him to Germany for a few months towards the end of the year. Germany! That’s close to England! So, with that new nugget of info, I shall put the idea of living here on hold because let’s face it, David is the main attraction.

Oh,  it looks like my “lover,” has returned with what very much looks like another bottle of Champagne.

Love and bubbles on the roof.

Perfect.

July 31st, 1990

July 31st, 1990
Flight from LHR – LAX
Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica, California

I’m writing this from the king size bed in the hotel but don’t fear, David is here! It’s not quite as fantastic as being on David’s rooftop terrace but at least we’re together and I have to say how desirable he looks sleeping, which, considering I’ve been up for twenty-seven hours is something I ought to be doing!

David has a meeting on this side of town first thing in the morning so we decided to meet here. I was ecstatic and relieved when I opened the door to his beautiful smiling face and his floppy blonde surfer hair that looks a bit longer than usual.

“See?” he said. “Getting together again by the end of the month wasn’t a pipe dream after all.”
“Lucky us.”
“Lucky me,” he said, kissing me.

He got serious when I told him about Granda and wrapped me in a great, big hug that lasted for ages and felt so good.
“You wanna just stay in?”
“No, let’s go downstairs, my crew all want to meet you.”
“You sure?”
“Uh-huh, they’re a really nice bunch, you’ll like them. And it’ll be good to get out.”

We enjoyed a couple of Long Island Iced Teas and some laughs at the bar before heading to Café Casino, where we held hands across the table and didn’t shy away from saying; “I love you.”

There’s so much more I want to write, but I’m fading fast…oh, Mel Gibson was on our flight and I managed to get his autograph.

July 30th, 1990

July 30th, 1990
At home

A year ago, today, I met David in the market in Delhi, completely out of the blue. A week before that chance meeting, I left a note with my name and address in the jacket pocket of the best-looking passenger ever. I could never have imagined that a year later I’d be counting the hours (26 ½!) ‘til I see him again.

Felt really sad saying bye to mum and dad as they boarded the train this morning and part of me still felt like I should be going with them but they both made their wishes clear, so now I can go to LA, where I’ll have a shoulder to cry on.

July 29th, 1990

July 29th, 1990
At home

I’ve been home all day, thinking about Granda and talking to mum and dad about the funeral.

“I’m sure I can get compassionate leave, if not, I’ll ring in sick.”
“No way,” dad said. “I don’t want you doing that. Besides, you know what it’ll be like up in Scotland with all the usual family nonsense.”
“I’m already up to high doh,” mum uttered.
“But dad, it’s Granda’s funeral. I should be there.”
“The funeral is just a formality. Granda knew you loved him and you know he loved you, that’s all that matters.”
“What do you think, mum?”
“I agree with dad. I think you should go to LA, hen.”
“You do?”
“Oh aye. Part of the reason we moved here was to get away from all the shenanigans. You don’t need to get caught in the middle of all that.”
“I still think I should go, doesn’t seem right not to.”
“I cannae stop ye,” Dad said. “But I’d rather you carry on with your life.”

The last time I saw Granda was last year, when he came to visit. I remember him asking me all sorts of questions about what I did at work, “On the plane,” and how amusing it was when I told him Stephen is gay, to which he replied; “Oh aye, he’s a happy laddie!”

Granda married Granny just shy of her eighteenth birthday, when he was twenty-one. Just last year, while he was sitting in this very chair, he told me how much he loved and still missed her every single day.

I want to give that kind of love.

I need to receive that kind of love.

I long to live my life surrounded by that kind of love.

And I know who I want to share it all with.

July 28th, 1990

July 28th, 1990
At home

We moved from Scotland to England almost nine years ago, after dad went to work one morning, only to find Chrysler car company was closing its doors later that day, thereby putting at least five thousand, mostly men, out of work.

With an already depressed market in that part of Scotland, my dad left for England the very next morning, where he stayed with his oldest friend Harry, his wife and two daughters. In a new town called Milton Keynes, it didn’t take dad long to find employment and start searching for our new home.

My Granda, James McGarr, fathered fifteen children with his wife Mary, the woman he lovingly referred to as; “The only lassie I’ve ever loved.” Together, they mourned the loss of five infants and raised ten children in a house with a total of three rooms and an outside toilet.

Granda never left Scotland, his birth country. He never flew on an airplane. He never got to watch the sun come up in Los Angeles or shake his head in wonder at the pyramids in Egypt. He never set foot on another continent and he won’t dance at my wedding.

But he was loved.

July 27th, 1990

July 27th, 1990
At home

Granda passed away early yesterday morning.

The last of my grandparents, Granda, turned eighty-three, two weeks ago but age is irrelevant when you lose someone you love. My heart really goes out to my dad, who spent most of the day on the phone making funeral arrangements.

“Why is dad doing all this when his family in Scotland should be?”
“Same old bloody story,” mum sighed. “You know what they’re like. Hopeless.”
“Poor dad,” I said, glancing at him through the glass wall in the kitchen. “He looks terrible.”
“Aye, I’m awful worried about him. He’s taking it bad.”
“How are you holding up, mum?”
“Uff,” she said, breaking down. “I feel heartbroken.”
I grabbed some tissues and handed them to her.
“Thanks, hen,” she sniffled. “He was a good soul, wasn’t he?”
I nodded. “He really was.”

I passed Uncle Harry on his way into the house tonight just as I was heading over to see Florence.
“I’m sorry about your Granda, hen,” he said, giving me a hug.
“Thanks Uncle Harry, I know you were really fond of him.”
“Oh aye, Jimmy was a good man. Helped me out many a time, just like your dad.”
“I’m glad you’re here. My dad could do with a friend right now.”

Mum had already shared the news with Florence, so when I went in, she stood up and wrapped me in a big hug. Florence is a great friend and someone I can talk freely with, about pretty much anything. She’s always kind and considerate and especially good when it comes to the stuff that hurts your heart.

When I got home, mum and dad were sitting in the kitchen.
“Hiya, hen. Fancy a wee cuppa?” mum said, getting up.
“Sit down mum, I can do it. Dad?”
“What?”
“Tea?”
“No hen,” he sighed, waving his hand. “I need something a wee bit stronger.”
“I’ll get you a wee half,” mum said, pushing her chair back.
“Are you getting everything sorted out, dad?”
“Aye, the funeral is all arranged. Best to get it over with sooner rather than later.”
“Oh, good,” I blurted. “Sorry, I didn’t mean good, I meant…”
“It’s awright hen, I know what you mean.”
“When is it, dad? When is Granda’s funeral?”
“Next Tuesday.”
“Next Tuesday?”
“Aye, the thirty-first,” he said quietly. “July the thirty-first.”

The day I’m scheduled to go to LA.

July 26th, 1990

July 26th, 1990
Night flight from HAR – LHR

Breakfast with Danielle and Emily, after which we ventured out in the hope of finding some shops but there were only three within walking distance of the hotel.

The one thing I did find was a set of hand painted coasters.
“You should get them,” Emily said.
“There’s only four of them.”
“How many do you need?”
“Eh, I don’t know. Six? Maybe more?”
“How big is your house?”
“The house I’m buying is a decent size but I might rent it out.”
“Then where would you live?”
“I have this mad notion of living in LA.”
“With your boyfriend?”
“No, oh no, in my own place.”
“So, you’d commute from LA?”
“Who’s commuting from LA?” Danielle asked from the other end of the tiny shop.
“I might, if I can get onto a part-time contract.”
“Oooh,” she said. “How fab would that be. Can we come visit?”
“Of course,” I said, smiling at the thought of welcoming guests to my pad in Los Angeles.

I have a chess set and a set of coasters. It’s a start.

July 25th, 1990

July 25th, 1990
Hotel Sheraton Harare, Zimbabwe

Met Danielle and Emily at nine this morning (regardless of where in the world we are, crew always meet at nine in the lobby.) First time here for the three of us so we asked the guy at the front desk for some suggestions on things to do.

It didn’t take long for him to sell us on a trip to Lake Chivero. He even found us a driver called Milton, from whom we learned on the hour-long drive, that Lake Chivero is a reservoir on the Manyame River. It took two and a half years to construct and blah, blah, blah.

Milton hung back a bit while we walked around the lake and even though we’re on a different continent, the conversation still revolved around the opposite sex!

Danielle got married last year and said it’s the best thing ever. Emily said she wants to fly until she’s about thirty, after which she’ll do, “All the hubby and kid stuff.” I told them about David and it felt lovely being able to talk about him from I don’t even know how many miles away.

The drive back to the hotel was as much an experience as the one there and the more I see on my travels, the more I appreciate where I live and what I have.

The three of us continued our conversation tonight in Wombles restaurant, where not even a sip of wine passed our lips. Detox! Finally! Clearly, I should have come to Zimbabwe a long time ago.

July 24th, 1990

July 24th, 1990
Flight from JNB – HAR as a passenger

First time in Zimbabwe.

There was some talk on the crew bus of taking a tour so I hope it happens. Seems a shame to be on a different continent and not see anything.

Millie left with her crew to fly to Nairobi but we managed to spend the morning in her room, which was much nicer than mine, with floor to ceiling windows that allowed the sunlight to pour over us while we lay on the floor, taking turns impersonating the cast of characters we met on the Antigua trip.

“Cover your ears for this one.”
“Hi, I’m Scott, from Texas!” Millie yelled.
“Actually, I was going to imitate Suzi.”
“Who’s Suzi?”
“The girl who was on her honeymoon, you know, the one we met in the restaurant after her husband recognized William.”
“Her name was Shelby.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, the girl from Long Island.”
“No, no, no she was from Texas.”
“No! Scott, aka megaphone, is from Texas.”
“I know that but I thought…”
“Shelby is from Long Island. Couldn’t you tell by her accent?”

Guess I had a little too much rum punch that night!

July 23rd, 1990

July 23rd, 1990
Flight from NBO – JNB

Call came at six thirty this morning and I couldn’t wait to check out of the dank, depressing room, where I spent too many hours alone.

Flight time was only four hours and I knew Millie was already here, so the minute I got to my room, I rang her. Had we been in (mostly) any other location, we’d have gone out but this isn’t the safest place so we ordered cakes on room service and began what turned into a marathon gab fest.

Tonight (still in my room) Millie threw a pillow at me when I asked her to make the caricature she did of me, look thinner.
“Stop being ridiculous,” she said. “You are not fat.”
“I’m not being…”
“Yes you are! Do you think hunky Dave would fancy you if you were fat?”
“It’s David.”
“Ooh, touché,” she said, sticking out her tongue. “Day vid.”
“Don’t be snarky,” I said, tossing the pillow at her.
“Ouch!” she yelled, when it hit her on the head.
“That’ll teach you.”
“Stop changing the subject and answer the question!”
“Sorry, what was your question again?”
“You’re impossible!”
“I learned from the best,” I said trying to wink, which made her laugh because I can’t wink.
“Should we get more cakes?” She asked, with a perfect wink. “Or do you want to go out with the crew?”
“I’m not really in the mood for socializing but we can go if you want.”
“Nah, I’m not either. I want to draw more. So, cakes it is?”
“Cakes it is! And maybe a bit of pasta.”`