October 7th, 1990
Flight from DUS – LHR as a passenger
At home, England
I don’t quite know where to begin so I guess I’ll start by saying how much I’m missing David after such an incredible time in Germany.
It was raining this morning, so we had breakfast inside, but with the balcony doors open.
“I had the best sleep I’ve had in a long, long time,” David said, stretching enough that his t-shirt rose, revealing parts of him I find irresistible.
“Glad to hear that,” I smirked. “Can you just do that again?”
“Do what?” he asked. Such innocence!
“That stretch thing,” I said, waving my hand. “Only this time reach higher and slow it down a bit.”
“You’re bad,” he said, leaning over to kiss me.
“Did you have the dolphin dream?”
He looked surprised. “No, did you?”
“I did, actually,” I said in a cocky voice.
“There were seven dolphins swimming around us.”
He cracked up laughing and I loved that he got it without me having to explain. “Seven, huh?”
“Actually,” I continued, in the same vein. “It might have been nine.”
“Hmmmmm,” he said, rubbing his chin, in an exaggerated way.
I glanced at the clock and sighed.
“I wish you could stay”, he said, echoing my thoughts.
“As much as I want to ring in sick for the Paris flight tonight, if I do, it’ll mess everything up and I’ll lose the trip I requested to spend Thanksgiving with you.”
“That’s not an option.”
All too soon, we were on our way to the airport.
“You don’t have to come in, just drop me off.”
“No way,” David said. “I’m coming inside with you.”
The desk agent had a stern look to her that didn’t exactly scream Customer Service and with a well- practiced eye roll, she uttered the words one never wants to hear whilst travelling on a staff travel ticket; “The flight is full.”
“Are you sure?”
“Very,” she stated, her tone falling somewhere between stern and evil. “You vil not be travelling to London today.”
“Shit!” I exclaimed, followed with a quick apology as she practically tossed the ticket at me. I looked at David. “I can’t ring in sick, I really can’t.”
“Can you take a flight out of another airport?”
“I, I don’t know,” I stuttered.
He gave me a look that said, “Allow me?”
I nodded yes and stepped to the side as he cleared his throat. He leaned slightly over the counter and said something in German to battle axe lady that actually made her laugh, which in turn made him laugh but I could tell he was faking it. All I understood from the quick exchange was “Dusseldorf.”
Battle axe turned sex kitten hit the computer keys in a frantic fashion, all the while making sounds confirming the reason why German isn’t considered a Romance language.
“Ja,” she breathed seductively, gazing at David as though I had vanished into thin air.
“Danke,” he smiled, followed by words that made her cheeks flush slightly.
“What exactly is happening?” I snipped.
“I’ll tell you in the car,” David said, looking at his watch. “We gotta move it!”
Fortunately, due to the fact David flew into Dusseldorf just the other day, he remembered the way.
“Don’t worry honey,” he kept saying as he bombed down the autobahn. “We’ll get you home in time for work tonight.”
For a myriad of reasons, my insides were churning as we neared the terminal so I told David just to drop me off.
“Uh-huh,” I nodded, fearing I might cry. “There’s no time to linger.”
He grabbed my bag out of the boot, we kissed and I ignored the immense sadness welling up inside as I quickly made my way towards the entrance. Just as I was about to step inside, David called out. “Nine dolphins, huh?”
I spun around to see him standing with his elbow resting on the car door.
“Actually,” I yelled. “I think it was ten.”
He smiled and blew me a kiss.
Inside, the terminal was packed and I fought my way to the Lufthansa check-in area and joined the long queue. When I finally got to the counter, the desk agent typed in all my information, all the while making small talk (I think!) with the man working next to her.
“Are there many people on standby?” I asked.
“About twenty too many,” she replied in a Northern English accent. I refrained from asking where she was from, but just knowing she spoke the same language was enough to make me continue. “The woman in Cologne said there was space on this flight.”
“There was, until about ten minutes ago. We had a huge group of VIP’s check in, now we’re juggling everybody about to accommodate them.”
“Ugh, so there’s no way I’m getting on this flight.”
She gave me a sympathetic look. “Sorry. The best I can do is put your name on the list for the Air Europe flight. To Gatwick.”
“That’s the only other one today?”
“There’s one to Manchester later.”
“My car is at Heathrow,” I said, feigning a smile.
“Sorry, I wish there was something else I could do.”
The thought of losing the request trip to LA was enough to make me come up with Plan B, so with a freshly paid for phone card, I rang mum and asked her to ring crewing. “Tell them my car broke down but make sure whoever you speak to knows I’m not ringing in sick. I can’t let David down at Thanksgiving.” I knew the mere mention of anything David related would be enough to guarantee mum’s utmost attention!
The prospect of waiting for the flight to Gatwick was depressing so I concocted a fantasy (what else can you do in the airport with three hours to kill when you’re too distracted to read?) in which I made my way back to Cologne. David opened the door. Stretched! Took one look at me, fell to his knees, told me he couldn’t live without me and asked me to marry him! Of course, I said yes and we lived happily ever after (in LA!)
Fine tuning the fantasy details took up a lot of time and before I knew it, I was on the flight, vowing never again to rely on staff travel to get me home in a timely fashion!
I got a crappy middle seat but I knew two of the girls on the crew from my days working with Air Europe so I moseyed to the back galley, where I enjoyed several glasses of Champagne, all whilst giving Ally and Emma the condensed version of why I was in Germany.
Reality once again set in when we touched down at Gatwick and I had to leg it to catch the Gatwick Express to Victoria train station. From there it was two tube rides to Heathrow then finally to the crew car park, where I sighed a deep sigh of relief. Even the thought of a two-hour drive home felt like nothing compared to the eight hours prior.
Rang mum to let her know I made it. She said the woman she spoke to on the crew desk was really helpful, and assured mum that none of my other trips will be affected. I do have to ring crewing in the morning though, so hopefully I won’t be in too much trouble.
I put on some music, made hot chocolate and pondered whether I should unpack or wait ‘til tomorrow but I felt too wired to sleep, so the bag won. At the bottom of it, was a postcard of Cologne Cathedral, attached to a small box, tied with white ribbon. On the back of the card, David had written; “Here’s the first of many. Thank you for the best time ever. I absolutely love you x”
And inside the box, was a Swarovski crystal baby dolphin.