October 24th, 1990
Westin Stamford Hotel, Singapore
At the beginning of a long trip, crew tend to venture out en masse, but typically as the days progress, the numbers become smaller, so much so in fact that on this trip several of us have become known as “The Diehards.”
Tonight, that small group of us (all under the age of 30!) made our way up to the seventieth floor of the hotel, where The Compass Rose is located. At the far end of the bar, I was amused but not surprised to see Annabel holding court.
“Miss McGarr,” she mouthed, sashaying in my direction, somehow managing to keep from spilling a drop of her drink. “Here darling, try this,” she breathed, pushing the glass into my hand. “Lychee martini, all the rage here and simply divine. Waiter! Two more please. Tell me everything but hurry, I have to be somewhere!”
“What are you up to?”
“Nothing devious,” she chuckled, grabbing the glass, downing a huge gulp. “Good lord, it’s nectar. Try it! I’m meeting some friends who fly for Singapore Airlines, you ought to come, wait, don’t look, but the First Officer is heading this way and boy is he dishy! Anyway, how are you darling, you look splendid!”
“As do you,” I replied, marveling at how Annabel could say so much without taking a breath.
“Evening darling,” she uttered, turning her head expectantly for a cheek kiss, as I smiled at the man in question.
“Karen,” he beamed.
“Hi Richard, how are you?”
“Very well, thank you.”
Annabel looked surprised. “I take it you two have flown together?”
“We met recently on a Newark trip,” Richard explained.
“Oh,” Annabel uttered, the way only posh people can. “Ah, here come the cocktails, gosh, don’t they look amazing but I simply must dash, so sorry!”
“I didn’t even get a chance to talk to you!” I said. “When do you leave?”
“First thing, ugh!”
“When do you get back to London?”
“Sometime next week, promise you’ll ring. Bye my darlings,” she gushed, planting a kiss on each of our cheeks. “Don’t do anything too naughty!”
“And then she was gone,” I chuckled, watching Annabel weave her way through the crowd as though she were about to take to the stage.
“Such a character,” Richard muttered.
“Truly. Anyway, how are you? You look well.”
“I was thinking the same about you.” His tone was flirtatious but before I had a chance to respond, Annie slinked her way in between us. “Don’t get too cozy with her,” she slurred. “We’re going to the Top Ten. And you,” she pointed her finger in Richard’s face. “You are dancing with me!” Annie staggered off in Andy’s direction and Richard and I fell into a fit of laughter.
“Who was that?” he asked.
“First Class purser.”
“Wow,” he said. “Just wow!”
“In her defense, this is the last night of a twelve-day trip. I think we’re all ready to go home.” “Understood,” he said, clinking his glass to mine. “Lychee, huh?”
I nodded yes as we each took a sip. “Divine,” he said, sounding exactly like Annabel.
For the next hour or so, at least two dozen crew, mine and Richard’s reminded us that we were going to the Top Ten.
“Are you going?” he asked.
“Yeah, why not,” I said, feeling slightly tipsy.
“Absolutely! This is the last night of an eight-day trip for me.”
“Why so short?”
“I was scheduled to fly back to Oz with Annabel’s crew but apparently your First Officer took ill.”
“Oh no, poor Malcolm, I hope he’s ok.”
Richard looked at his watch. “He is, in fact he’s presently on his way back to the UK.”
He leaned into me. “Just between us,” he whispered. “I heard he’s having some rather, let’s say delicate issues at home and needed to get back.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Indeed,” he nodded. “So, shall we make our last night in Singapore a memorable one?”
This is not, I thought, the Richard I met in Newark. This one is much more engaging and he doesn’t smell too shabby either.
“Any night at the Top Ten is memorable,” I said.
He grinned. “Lead on, Miss McGarr.”